Welcome to My Red Cape. Long ago in another time my husband Jack and I lived in a little old red house. It was the stuff of dreams to us for the few years that we were there. I live there still a number of hours every day in imagination, with old dolls and paintings and fabrics and feather trees. I draw inspiration and happiness from the memories of that space in time and share some of it here with friends who remember how to step with Alice through the looking glass and take delight in whimsies and antiquities. ~ Edyth O'Neill

Friday, October 31, 2014

Another nice block party

The neighborhood I live in is most enjoyable.  Our one block long street consists of about 20 garden homes, small houses with gated side yards and patio space between them.  All are nicely kept and more than half of these little yards are gardened intensely, so it is a modest but pretty street. My daughter Cheryl owns one of the house and so is near by for much visiting, (and my daughter Beth is just one block away around a corner.)  We have several active writers, teachers, and artists as well as active  retired folk who volunteer in important activities. We look after one another in thoughtful ways, and most of us have exchanged door keys and emergency information with a few neighbors. I fed Vicki's cat when she went to Italy last year, Cathy drove a neighbor to have her hair done yesterday, and so on. We are farther apart than apartment dwellers, and none can see into or hear much at all from another's yard, still we live closer than most in suburbia.

We come together on driveway aprons and in front yards sipping wine in small spontaneous groups often, and in planned block parties  occasionally. Last evening was one such. I took a large salad, Cheryl took a bean dish, Johnny brought two pies from the Pie Shop, there was wine and water and iced tea to choose from and a dozen delicious casseroles, and Martin's home barbequed buffalo wings, which he came home early to cook for us all.  There were deviled eggs and other salad dishes, few deserts, just the pies and a cake called tres leches, a rich concoction my family often serves. We were 26 in all, down from 31 at the last block party in July.  Many stayed and talked till after dark having a good time together.  It was a special evening to welcome a new neighborhood couple.  Norman Rockwell was there in spirit.
Al and Johnny set up some of the white tables I keep in my garage.





Monday, October 6, 2014

Macy Renee' is three now

This great grand child has been crazy over horses since the first one she saw.  Her excited cry of "Pony!" rang out in the car as we arrived in Kerrville to visit a  pretty Arabian being shown off for donations to a rescue operation for neglected horses.

 


Once on the ground beside a creature so tall for this little three year old person, she was too shy to hold the piece of apple to that great big mouth. A small donkey proved less fearsome.  She obediently posed for pictures with Jackson her brother now five and my son in law Gary who is a wonderful grandfather, all squinting into the sun so I could record the event.   So this was the first pony of her birthday celebration.

Next was a carriage ride down the main street of Fredericksburg, pony number two is a mare named "Liberty",  a small draft breed, perhaps Percheron. Macy did place a small hand on the mare's neck as it nibbled grass.





And last was the cake and presents, my gift to her was a back pack made of a plush pony having a zipper on the side. She let out a great laugh of approval when she opened this pony number 3!  Happy birthday to my little  doll.  e




The best present for this little wannabe cowgirl is her beautiful
pair of fine boots!

Here is the pony backpack.

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Hint of Fall

By the time the second group of friends visited from Two Star, I had had time to put out a bit of fall color. 
 
New tea towels from Trish Travis at Country Gatherings


The warm colors of the Chalk Deer Rug are always ready for this season.
 
Fresh green in the atrium is a cool contrast to all the warm colors inside. It is seen from the breakfast table in the kitchen and also from the long dining table in the next room.  At night the atrium is lighted and adds drama to candle light suppers! 

The already busy rooms do not need much in the way of color added.  I am searching for some Indian corn to add on the table and on this cupboard. That will be enough for me. 

How many years ago did Irene Gunn teach me to put a lamp always beside a cupboard? At least 40 years back.  There is a lamp beside every open cupboard in this house. 

The pretty candle wreaths come out each fall, they are pleasures bought from Eileen at Chappell Hill.    Homemaking is an acquired joy, the sum of many friendships and experiences.  
 
In that way also,  I think of beloved family members each time I look through my recipe box.  The faded writings of my mother and aunt are there along with the recipes shared from friends..  e

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Two Star Rug Camp this week in Fredericksburg TX

Teachers Maggie Bonanomi, Kathy Clark, Lucille Festa, Sharon Smith, and Diane Stoffel joined directors Trish Travis and Gayle Soileau to present another great rug hooking experience here this week.  The creative excitement is almost palpable in the room full of rug makers and their colorful projects.   I have appreciated the invitation to visit and enjoy it. 





 

I took photos of some of the rugs. There were dozens of good ones on display. 
Hooked by Diane Lampe  and Designed by Carolyn Tobin

Hooked and Designed by Becky Marshall

 
An old Frost Pattern Hooked by Dorothy Panaceck.

Hooked by Melanie Stevens, Designed by Keith Kemmer


Cheryl Bollenbach pattern and hooked by Carrie Martin
 
 
The sales room was full and enticing. I bought the tree shown here. 
 



 
This does not show the fun some of us had shopping for clothing and jewelry one afternoon and eating together in some of Fredericksburg's informal eateries.  It has been a treat for me to be around some old friends in this field and to get to know some new ones.  Thanks!  E
 
 
 

Friday, September 5, 2014

A Bay Tree Like Tasha's

Isn't it a wonder how things in your life circle back around again and again.   Example, the joys of great grand children, new children to love but somehow the same as it was with my own babies.  And teaching a new generation to love art and guitars and horses. Macy at close to three is horse crazy, as Cheryl was even when a tiny child. 

In the early 1990's when Jack and I lived in difficult circumstances while re building the old cape,  I felt I could not cope with my huge bay tree in a pot, to carry it in and out and protect it from deep freezes. It was then about 6 years old and large.  My friend Virginia gave it a happy home and had it planted in her yard. San Antonio has a slightly warmer climate than Fredericksburg 70 miles west and higher.  The tree still thrives there 20 years later!  And now it's cuttings are here with me.

 I want a bay tree again, so yesterday Virginia sent me 5 cuttings from our bay, and though I have never had luck rooting anything, I am trying!  Wish me luck at this.

  Two cuttings are now in water and three in a pot of potting soil, all having had a boost of rooting compound.  I have them where they have good light but not direct sun.  e 
Post script in October, every last one of them died!  I think I will buy one next spring.

Love of Southwest jewelry

I had my first piece of silver and turquoise at the age of 15, bought in a hotel lobby in Arizona when traveling with my aunt and uncle. It is a bracelet of the Harvey type having stamped thunderbirds and a small piece of turquoise.  The Harvey pieces and similar such were made for sale to tourists and featured things from never never land like thunderbirds, an anglo man's ideas imposed on Indian art to make tourist items.  This bracelet now belongs to a dear friend in San Antonio, I gave it to her when it fit her wrist as a child years ago.    I have had a few old pieces over time, some Indian made and signed, some not known.  I buy some pieces and wear them a while and resell them and enjoy a different one.    This old Squash variant with talons from some predatory bird, is an unusual piece I have not see the like of before.  There is a lot of silver work on it and some wear on the old talons. I do not know the origin of this piece. 

 
In 1991 and 92 Jack and I learned to make some simple Navajo style pieces, and these are still my favorite to wear.  Examples are the crosses I made. The bird was perhaps my most complex piece, almost sculpted from a piece of sheet silver. To me it too is a cross form.  The beads and chain pictured here were not made by me but purchased from Indian Jeweler's Supply in Gallup NM. 


 
The Isleta cross necklace is styled like one from that pueblo.  These early necklaces were featured in the book Heart of the Dragonfly by Allison Bird.  When I was studying the jewelry, my brother took me on a 9 day trip to Albuquerque and Santa Fe and Taos to see the museum collections there. That trip is a treasured memory!     

 
My nicest piece may be the dime beads made by Jackie of old silver dimes. The naja I wear on it is one I made, when I had not yet learned to use silver  solder of different heat requirements. As I would fasten the pieces on one end of the naja the other pieces would melt off!  It took a full day and 18 tries I remember to get it together!   These beads are heavy and wonderful!  I find them too heavy to wear more than a few hours at a time. 
 
One of my daughters recently bought the lovely heavy beads pictured below and lets me wear them. These are called Navajo pearls now, I never heard the term a long time ago, though they may have been called such then too. 
We like them long so I got out my box of a few remaining supplies and made a 6 inch extender to go at the back of the neck, thus letting the beads hang three inches longer. Just working with the sterling chain and clasps and jeweler's pliers gave me the fever to make jewelry again.   I would like to make another hat band sometime, like a tiny concho belt with medallions on a thin piece of leather.  A piece of an old rein is best for this.  I think I have some somewhere.... e
 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Country Music concert in the park

Six times each summer the Pedernales creative arts alliance has a free music concert in the park and people take their lawn chairs and picnic there.  Beth took fried chicken and I took peach cobbler.  A light breeze and a shady spot made it perfect.  The band was "Almost Patsy Cline" playing 60's music and the dance floor was a busy place.   Goodbye to summer, school starts tomorrow.   In many ways Fair weekend is more of a demarcation line than labor day here.  
The May Pole in the park is a permanent metal sculpture showing the settlement of Fredericksburg.



It was a huge picnic. We spotted our very conservative friend Al doing the twist. 

  E

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