My Vintage Linen Christmas Tree


This posting is not from my ‘normal’ topic lists but I’ve had too many people tell me to post this idea and picture so I’m caving to public demand and doing it – but of course, there’s a story to the idea and the picture. 

Once upon a time, my mother had a junk, ‘er  I mean a vintage treasure shop.  Sometimes I have difficulty distinguishing between the two.  Contents of the shop included a few antique furniture pieces, a small library of books, a ton of collectibles, hundreds and hundreds of vintage home décor items and a collection of vintage linens like no other.  Conditions of the linens varied from Grade A Number 1 to “why the hell are you keeping this one?” quality.   The linens covered a wide range of types as well including doilies, table runners, tablecloths, dresser scarves, and pillowcase edging , all the way to full size bed covers.  Most were of the white/off-white/almost tea-dyed colour, some with small patches of embroidery as well. 

So when it came time for Mom to close her shop, my brother and I were assigned the task of distributing the shop’s contents, i.e. some went to Salvation Army, some was given away, some was burned and most of it went to the dump.  But Mom’s favourites were the books and the linens – and those went to a storage area at my sister’s.

About three years ago, Mom passed away and my sister and I went through all the treasures in storage and I ended up with most of the linens and my sister took the books.  We just couldn’t bear to discard the items that our mother had treasured so dearly. 

My sister set up her own mini-library with the books and I was left to figure out what to do with four huge Rubbermaid containers of vintage linens.  I tried selling a few in an antique market but that seemed to be cumbersome, displaying them properly, etc.  I tried to let my creative juices flow to come up with ideas of things that I could make with these linens.  I thought of making lap blankets/throws but that didn’t seem too practical, as the linens probably couldn’t take a ‘heavy use’ task like a blanket. 

As the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, I found the vintage linens beautiful but my house can only house so much beauty – and four Rubbermaid containers was too much beauty.  So I sorted through the linens and then the idea hit me.  As the Christmas season was upon me, I was in need of a Christmas tree.  But the idea of a traditional tree didn’t appeal to me – must be because my age has allowed me to see so many that I’m just over that traditional decoration.   But what about a tree made of linens?  Could that work?  I put the idea past the handsome husband and he was supportive of the idea.  So I set to work on engineering the base/frame of the tree, using the base of a hoarded floor lamp as the project base and the heavy cardboard core of a newly purchased area rug as the ‘trunk’ of the tree.  Using my handy drill and numerous pieces of doweling, I was able to make a skeleton tree for the linens.  Then placing/threading the linens onto the doweling was a task of trial and error.  I used a great deal of the linens but certainly not all of them but now I’ve got nieces that are interested in making one of these trees.  In addition to the linens, I used tulle amongst the linens and placed many strings of white lights on white wire to light it.  The final touch (and my favourite one!) is that the decorations are vintage jewelry that was my Mom’s and my grandmother’s.  I used bracelets, pins, necklaces, etc.  The topper is a store-bought metal angel. 

Some may think that this looks just like a laundry rack – and I guess it kind of does, but it makes me smile every time I see it, remembering my mother and all that she has contributed to my life.    I hope all who read this have their own form of ‘linens’ by which to remember their loved ones.  Merry Christmas. 


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