Sunday, April 28, 2019

Welcome to the 5th Annual Spring Clean Your Studio Blog Hop 2019!

Hello and Welcome to my creative corner of the web.  I want to start by thanking Cheryl Sleboda of and for hosting this blog hop as it was just the motivation that I needed to finish this project.


My name is Linda and I love all things sewing and quilting. While my roots are in traditional quilting, I love to create art quilts and add a bit of mixed media to each piece. I also teach workshops and create patterns to help others develop their sewing and quilting skills.

This is a small sample of some of my mixed media art quilts
This is my whole cloth quilt, My Fantasy Garden by Linda Bratten

This is one of my Sew Very Sketchy pattern line that teaches others to create with mixed media.

I live in Central Missouri, USA, in a small home on 15 acres.  Shortly after our sons left home, my husband and I decided to downsize and relocate to a rural setting.  However, that meant that I lost my extra large sewing studio and a large basement for storing my "material passion". Living in the country also means that it is a 45 minute drive to the nearest town with a fabric/craft store.

My humble abode.

We live at the end of the road that the locals call, "Friendship Bottoms".

While I have had both a large studio and a small studio, I have learned that I have the tendency to fill them accordingly.  Thus it is best to keep the area small and manageable.

My ironing station.

 I am fortunate to have great machines to work with and large cutting and ironing workstations.  This combination means there is little floor space in my studio, and I personally cannot grow any wider or I will not be able to maneuver around the room!

So to get started, here are my "before" photos of the areas I needed to work on.

Poor Jane is a collector of sewing notions and other mixed media products.
A drawer in serious need of help.

While I enjoy not having as much over all to maintain daily, it is sometimes a struggle to keep the clutter cleared.  Also finding appropriate storage for all my different interests (translated all my mixed media supplies) can be challenging.  Then there is the fact that not only am I busy as the solo-preneur of Linda Bratten Creations with a busy teaching and designing schedule, I also help my family run a local furniture and mattress business. This means that some weeks I catch myself coming and going, with a bad habit of leaving piles of projects on my workspaces.

That being said, I was able to participate in the Spring Clean Your Studio last year.  That helped me to implement some basic habits to keep my work surfaces clean.  This year's call to participate came when I was actually in the middle of decluttering my studio storage.  So I will share with you some of the things that I believe will help me to maintain a more functional studio.

I had a ton of mixed media products in excessive, un-stackable packaging.

Getting rid of the packaging made storage of the products easier.

One of the things that I did this year was to remove packaging.  As a teacher when I share a product that I love to use, I show the package it came in so my students know exactly what they are looking for. I decided that a photo of the package is easier to store.  After removing several bags of recyclables and trash from my studio, my drawers now shut and my shelves hold my favorite supplies and they are easily accessible.  During this portion I also checked to make sure products were still useable for their intended purpose.

I also discovered that I must have an unusual desire to collect notebooks and journals.  So I donated and shared my abundance in this area with others. It was probably a great help for me to be aware of this tendency, especially when tempted in the stationary aisle.

So drawers that looked like this.

Were sorted into functional storage areas.

With large identifiable labels.

I also used my time to sort through what products and parts (many used to create purses and bags) are needed and grouped like items together.  I now have a central location for purse hardware, buttons, ribbons, paints, stencils, etc.  This should cut down on the time I used to spend looking for needed items, and should give me more creative time and less stress.

Small stackable totes contain UFO's and Class Samples.

More half finished Class Samples contained in gallon storage bags.

I also corralled all my UFO's and half finished class samples into plastic gallon bags and totes, labeling them and setting them aside.  My next plan of attack is to decide what I really want to finish, and what needs to be passed on.

These are my Class Content Binders, Samples, and the top of my desk.

The remaining binders, books, and samples

Finally, a place to plan!

Finally, last year I commented that I needed to go through my 3-Ring notebooks full of classes, patterns and content and purge what is not necessary for me to keep.  I am proud to say, that it has been accomplished and I believe I now have 8 empty binders!  This was probably the most difficult to purge because of all the blood, sweat and years it took to create some of the pieces.

Last year when I shared photos, someone mentioned that the studio looked dark.  So I did change some light bulbs to LED bulbs with more watts, and added some more workspace lighting.

Jane with my Shashkio Machine behind her.

My Singer 401A

I should also perhaps reassess the number of machines that I have available. I do use them for different purposes and they help me to accomplish my work so for now I will keep them.

Thread and Specialty Thread Storage

My large cutting station

Storage at the end of the cutting station, on top my serger and other sewing machine.

Two dressers placed back to back form my cutting station, the drawers were purged and organized!

It is still a small space loaded with supplies.  Having the items that I love to use available without having to make the long drive into town is the trade off.  It allows me to continue to be creative and share my love of sewing and quilting with others, and that brings me joy!

I do write a free monthly newsletter and host a companion Facebook Group, Linda B Creative where I share projects and tutorials.  I would love to have you join in the fun.  You can subscribe via my website:

Be sure to ask to join my Facebook Group, Linda B Creative!

You can sign up for my newsletter on my website.

I do fantasize on what a dream studio would look like.  I then post them to my Pinterest board, Sew Organized.
Look for my Pinterest Board, Sew Organized for inspiration!

If there are others of you who create in small spaces I would love to see how you manage it.  Please leave a comment or a photo below, you may inspire me to new methods!

Be sure to check out the others participating in this Spring Clean Your Studio Blog Hop 2019 #springcleanyourstudio2019

April 29 - Linda Bratten -
April 30 - Sandra Johnson -
May 1 - Jennifer Schifano Thomas -
May 2 - Becca Fenstermaker -
May 3 - Sue Griffiths -
May 4 - Kate Starcher -
May 5 - Jo Westfoot -
May 6 - Sam Hunter -
May 7 - Simone Fisher -
May 8 - Elisabeth DeMoo-
May 9 - Sarah Myers -
May 10 - Amy Bradley -
May 11 - Kathy Nutley -
May 12 - Carla Henton -
May 13 - Sherry Shish -
May 14 - Kate Colleran -
May 15 - Pamela Boatright -
May 16 - Cathy McKillip -
May 17 - Cheryl Sleboda -

Thanks for visiting my small corner of the world, and may you always be inspired.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Lilac Leaf Small Border Free-Motion Quilting Design Tutorial

I am excited to share with you my new tutorial, on quilting a small border motif, The Lilac Leaf. This motif is great for narrow borders and is easy to replicate.

It uses a heart motif as the basic leaf shape.  Then by adding a curl for fun and a center vein to travel to the next leaf you can establish a groove that will allow you to complete your small borders easily.

A close up of the stitched motif.

I always recommend practice drawing the design on paper to develop a muscle memory that can help you execute the design with your sewing machine. Check out my tutorial and see me stitch out my quilting motif using a domestic sewing machine.

I created this motif to use on my SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) auction donation quilt.  As you can see the lilac motif fit in with the whole theme of the piece.

Be sure to subscribe to my blog to see further posts on my SAQA auction donation piece.

If you would like to see how I started this project check out my first post using this link:

Heading back to the sewing studio to finish this piece,

Monday, April 1, 2019

Creating My Own Missouri Spring

Missouri Spring by Linda Bratten

I love it when everything outside starts to come to life in the Spring!

My favorite flower, the lilac, blooms during this time and the fragrance it emits brings joy to my days.  It is no wonder that I have chosen to use the lilac in many of my art quilts.  The quilt pictured above, "Missouri Spring", was created for an art show hosted by the Runge Nature Center in Jefferson City, Missouri.  It is an original photo that I transferred to some ready to print fabric using an inkjet printer. I then used free-motion quilting techniques to thread paint and enhance the motifs.

I enjoyed the process so much, I have decided to use another original photograph of a lilac and a swallow tail butterfly to create a 12"x 12" piece as an auction donation for SAQA, Studio Art Quilt Associates.  This is a non-profit organization that promotes art quilts through education, exhibits, professional development, documentation and publications.  You can find out more about SAQA at The online auction will be held later this year.

Original Photo Used by Linda Bratten

I thought you might like a behind the scene look at how I am creating this piece.  First, I looked through my photos and found one that appealed to me.  I then used Adobe Photoshop to enhance the photo and get it ready for printing.

I use June Tailor Sew-In Colorfast Fabric sheets and my inkjet printer to transfer the photo to the fabric.  Next I add borders and create the quilt sandwich.  Since this was a square piece, I wanted an asymmetrical look to draw attention to the focal point butterfly.  I also used a green and purple fabric to leave the yellow color of the butterfly as the accent color and keep it as a focal point.

Missouri Spring #2

Now the fun part, deciding which thread colors to use.  I love using a polyester machine embroidery thread.  The polyester has a slight give as I am quilting. The weight allows me to build up and define where I like, and to recede into the background when necessary.

 On smaller pieces that I plan on thread painting the focal point of the quilt, I will actually quilt the outer portions first.  This will help to maintain the shape of the piece as thread painting can draw up the fabric.

As I was quilting this, I created a fun Lilac Leaf border motif.  I will share the tutorial later, but be sure to subscribe to my newsletter, Linda B Creative where I share all of my current tutorials, classes, presentations, and patterns. Use this Link to sign up!

Now off to finish the tutorial and this piece!