Linda Wallace's Trees

I always looked forward to the “Christmas in Salem” walking tours when we lived in Massachusetts. First of all, you could peek inside someone else’s house which was very interesting because usually the homes were very old and historic. The added bonus for me was to see how these homeowners decorated their homes for the holidays. Through the years I have gone on many such tours. The house you are now about to visit is really not like any house I have ever toured before!

“Why,” you might ask.

I don’t think I have ever seen so many wonderful ornaments, or amazing Christmas trees all in one house.

Our travels will take us to eastern Tennessee, the edge of the Smoky Mountains. So pour yourself a cup of tea and take a gingerbread man and join me for an inspiring tour of Linda Wallace’s Christmas trees.

Entry Way
The minute you walk in the front door you are greeted with this first unusual tree. It is a rag ball tree that Linda created using Styrofoam balls and fabric. She has just cut the fabric in long stripes and wound it around the balls. It’s a simple tree, but very effective for an entryway.

 

 
Living Room
As we move into the main living area you know immediately that Linda is a cat person! This is her largest tree. It is nine feet tall and has over one thousand cat ornaments. I also love the appliqué Christmas tree skirt with the kittens. She explained that this tree is really a history of her life and the cats that have been a part of it. This tree is called the “big cat tree.” I wonder if the big cat tree topper has anything to do with the name of the tree?

 

 
Sunroom
Another passion of Linda’s is gardening. She is a master gardener and explains that while winter is devoted to stitching, the summers are dedicated to her garden. The seven-foot tree in her sunroom reflects that interest. Notice again the wonderful appliqué Christmas tree skirt. I also love the angel with the watering can on top of the tree!

 

 
Guest Bathroom

Well you must take a peek in this guest bathroom! Have you ever wondered what to do with all of those wonderful old hand towels you inherited from your Grandmother? Why not make a hand towel tree. I love this idea! The “tree” itself is just metal and is four feet high. I imagine it is the same idea as the coffee mug trees. This is something that could stay up all year. Would anyone ever dare use one of these hand towels?

 

 
Blue and Silver Tree
In this second guest bedroom, Linda has let the wallpaper dictate the colors for this tree. It is a five-foot tree with silver and blue hand made ornaments many made with paper and glitter.

 

 
Red and White Tree
Again, using the colors in the room to determine the colors for this tree, we see a four- foot tree and an eclectic mix of ornaments that are red and white. I love everything about this room! Notice her samplers in this room.

 

 
Needlework Tools Tree
Speaking of needlework, here is a tree, I must admit, I covet! This is a three-foot feather tree with thirty ornaments, which are needlework tools. Don’t you love it? You can tell that underneath this tree Linda has quite a collection of other needlework tools. I love the old sampler as a backdrop to this tree.

 

 
Sampler Tree
Finally, this is Linda’s Sampler tree, needless to say, my favorite tree! This is a seven- foot tree with over one hundred and fifty ornaments. Linda has every sampler style represented on this tree. I think this is a fabulous tree. For those of us who love needlework, this tree should inspire us all!

End Notes from Linda Wallace

1) The samplers in my red and white bedroom as on the wall

Ann Hall, 1812,
The Scarlet Letter
My Life is a Flower, 1723,
The Scarlet Letter
Letter, Designer?Fishing Lady,
The Scarlet Letter
Lucretia Maus, 1832,
The Scarlet Letter
AW, Designer?

2) The sampler behind the needlework tree is indeed an antique. I agree that it is probably English. The attribution reads: Elizabeth Houlden Her Work in the year of our Lord 1841 Aged 13. One of the unusual aspects of it is its size. The frame measures 38" wide by 35" high. The sampler appears to be stitched in cotton on silk. The frame is beautifully grain-painted. I found this at the Heart of the Country Antique Show in Nashville a number of years ago (actually at the Tailgate show across the street - the show is the first weekend in March this year).

3) I would love to be able to say I can identify all of the patterns I have used for my ornaments but I can't. However, here are a number of my favorite sources:

  • Mary Beale
  • Just Cross Stitch Christmas ornament magazine
  • Ewe and I and Friends
  • Eileen Bennett
I am always on the lookout for small patterns, but I have also used portions of a sampler. Most of my ornaments are about 5 X 5 or smaller, although I sometime stretch it if there is something I really love. Most are stitched on 35 to 40 count over two, but I have done several over 1 when there is a sampler type I don't have.

I also use a variety of finishing techniques. Some ornaments are padded, some flat, even some in small grain painted frames. I also like a variety of edgings: cording, beading, rouched ribbon, crocheted lace and rick rack (both plain and beaded).

I must say it was very hard to decide which pictures to use for this “tour.” I do hope that you have loved seeing Linda Wallace’s trees as much as I have. I think that her Christmas trees have given us a peek into her world and the things she loves. May it inspire you this holiday season.

©2014 Mary Beale

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