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

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A garden every where you look out.

 The small atrium viewed from the dining area is lovely lighted at night.  The verdigris St Francis is new but nice.   

The sun porch has a view of the bird feeders and bird bath. I like the little New England sailing ship on top of the set of drawers. 
 An early hutch table can be turned down for dining on the sun porch. 

 The vegetable garden does not look like much yet. I hope to have green beans on the trellis against the wall. 

The retaining wall toward the back of the lot makes a nice change in elevation. You cannot see the three young redbud trees and two good size Yaupon holly's in the gravel area, which also has a mature tree about 30 feet tall.

  The grape vine arbor over the serving table provides a center of interest and anchors the whole design.   e

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Garden around my garden home

My big Dig is over and the seating area is comfortable and the birds are happy to have their feeders back and new growth is everywhere.   Today I potted a few more plants and then just sat and enjoyed the garden and the birds.  All of the new plantings are standing up well and show promise of settling in. I am very pleased with the way it has turned out overall. 

There are several distinct areas.
The front yard redone last year is a near xeriscape.

An entry garden is mulched with small shrubbery and a few blooming perennials like Mexican oregano and mealy blue sage and a white blooming sage friend Barbara carried over and planted herself.

The paved seating area can accommodate more company with folding chairs. Gary and Beth and Cheryl have all helped furnish the patio this last few days. The hardest thing was lifting the heavy granite topped serving table! Horrors I did not know it would be so bad.   I would like to find an old grey wooden table for the serving bar and to double as a potting bench. This table looks really nice I do have to say.    The grey cedar chairs and bench have a fresh coat of stain. 

My vegetable area has a number of things planted there already; tomatoes, squash, eggplant, lettuce, spinach, beets and lots of herbs. Missing are the green beans waiting on a trellis. 

The largest part of the yard beyond a low retaining wall is a fifty foot wide wildlife area for a great many birds, but also frequented by raccoons, an occasional skunk or possum, many squirrels  and assorted lizards  (and sometimes a snake!)   I have added three small redbud trees for perching and 2 sizable yaupons for fall berries. A larger tree shades this area  for the hottest time of day.
All creatures appreciate the water kept for the birds.  Sometimes these wild ones sample the tomatoes and that is not good.

The little rain barrel is also in the back area. It is in place though not plumbed from the rain gutter yet.   One of my neighbors has a 250 gallon water catchment system.  I will learn small and perhaps let mine be larger later.  e, in her earth mother mode.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Digging up the whole thing!

Last spring I redesigned my tiny front yard. Today I talked with two men who are going to do a lot of work for the rest.  A retaining wall is needed to hold a sloping back end of the lot and then we will gravel that area. There will be a walk way and a patio paved and all grass removed from the whole lot.  My Daughter Cheryl grieves at this as she loves grass.   Some areas will be paved, some mulched for planting and some graveled with a few bushes in the gravel.  The sunniest part will be left open for planting tomatoes and squash and so forth.  Do you grow lemon mint for iced tea? I do, you can't buy things like that in the market.  The back end of the lot is where my bird feeders are and I will plant some yaupons there for berries and some redbud trees for perching. My glassed in porch looks at that area.  Because of the feeders and the bird bath it is already a bird filled area. 

 I will need a lot of plants.  Today I bought a Tulip Magnolia or Solangiana. I have loved them for years and years but not tried to keep one here in Fredericksburg. They do not like this soil, however I will pamper it with acid fertilizer.   This baby is about 2 feet tall and has some buds. I soaked it well in its black plastic pot tonight.  I believe in talking to plants and welcomed it with encouraging words.   To bring in a baby magnolia is a commitment. In the heat of summer many buckets of bath water will likely have to be carried to supplement our once a week watering.   The only other high water needs plant I have is the miniature magnolia "Little Gem". Like the Solangiana it is more a bush than a tree in this climate.
Replacing the lawn with paving and gravel and mulch and using drought resistant  plants is the objective here.  My heart turns to camellias and azaleas and gardenias and magnolia grandiflora. I remember a gentler south from my Dallas childhood.   
This has been a full day, with much coming and going, with people here plus several trips out. Tomorrow looks to be another one. I will go early  to a store having a sale on the pavestones I need for my yard, (250 of them to start with) which a neighbor man will haul for me in his trailer, and then to Mr Gatti’s for Great grandson Jackson’s 5th birthday celebration. Out of town relatives will be here for that as well as local little schoolmates.   He is a darling little boy, so good to his very difficult little sister. Macy is a force of nature! They are lots of fun to watch.   After the party at noon I will be back out shopping for plants.  I hope it is warming up for all my friends north of me!  Best, Edyth

Rugs for My Red Cape books for sale

Books, what books?  In the midst of spring straightening, I have found another partial box of my rug books.  These are soft bound, 98 pages of high quality paper printed in 2004 on a great big Heidelberg press in wonderful color through out.  When I stopped selling these and offered the less expensive PDF downloadable edition, there were still people who wanted the hard copies.
To order one of these few newly turned up books,  please send a payment by paypal for $45 which includes priority mail. If this post disappears you will know they are gone. There are 19 of them. 
 Be sure your mailing address with paypal is like you want it to be or send a note with your paypal payment for the address you want used.  If I get more buyers than books, I will refund to your paypal account.  If you want to send a check, (slower!) email me for instructions.  Thank all of you who have enjoyed my books and written warm words to me about them.  E
Found 2 more,
update March 22 nd, 6 remaining. Thank you all! 

added on March 15th, Dixie Redmond sent me this link offering two used copies of my book on Amazon, one for $84.95 and one for $69.90.   A compliment to this author!   e

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Trees are budding, this winter is almost over.

This is that time of the year when I want to plant the entire seed catalog! My whole winter salad garden perished in the last deep cold.  It had hug on for over 2 months of colder than usual temps for this part of central Texas, where we usually get very little winter.  The weather forecast for the coming two weeks would encourage me to wait a bit yet before planting again and declaring Spring. 
But someone among the wee folk is not waiting!  The urgency of a little Bewick wren gathering bits of mulch from my garden this morning stirred me to hunt my redware bird bottles. These are the familiar ones from Williamsburg.  Daughter Beth's husband Gary came to mount the bottles high up under the eaves of the house.  Under the eaves the sun cannot overheat the clay bottles and stifle the nestlings. 
There are some spots along the back yard fence that I would enjoy seeing the nests more, but those fence tops are highways for a surprising amount of wildlife. Through out the day the squirrels run back and forth and at dusk and after, the highway along the fence top is used by possums and raccoons.  I see tracks and small excavations in my garden from these nocturnal visitors. Who know how many cats might also climb there.  
Gary placed slender dowels in the prepared groves for perches and the small houses are empty and I hope inviting.  One of the bottles was a gift from a friend and the other a tag sale find. If the little male wren chooses to move into one I will post that here.  e

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Country Antique show today in Boerne

My friend Linda drove us and we arrived just as the doors opened this morning. It is a beautiful day in the Texas Hill Country, perfect weather for attending a small show about 50 miles from Fredericksburg. In years back Jack and I used to show there and I have many happy memories of those times. I visited with quite a few friends and had a nice time in general. Linda and I had both pledged just to look and not buy. 

She ended up with a very nice basket of an unusual form and a Skookums Doll.   I found a nice little Stieff squirrel for my daughter Cheryl and a doll chair. 

It is known that izannah Walker made some small furniture. I have not seen any documentation as to what that furniture looked like. I do know that this type of small ladder back chair is often found and or used with the Walker dolls.  Over and over I have seen these chairs pictured with the dolls and have not often seen the chairs for sale. They are a bit pricey to me.  So today was my day and even though the original seat is gone and replaced with very inappropriate cane, I am happy to bring home the little chair in original paint and having no other repairs or replacements. 
I will seek some shall diameter "paper rush" which I know how to use and replace the seat. 

If you have a chair similar to this green example, please send photos to me and I will add  them here to this same post.  I have a similar sized one Jack bought for me years ago at Brimfield. Nice old blue paint on that one but not the same kind of chair.

Monday postscript...  Collector friend sent a picture of a sweet small doll chair with her Izannah Walker doll. This little chair looks older and handmade rather than the manufactured one I purchased at the antique show.
Doll maker Paula Walton sent photos of some of her small chairs. Two of these are just like the one I have.  I would like to find out where these were manufactured.  A company like Joel Ellis that made the doll carriages could have made these.  The paint on the chairs is not typical of what we see on the buggies.  E

Off Topic, my broccoli is making sweet heads!  All of the beets froze in the recent extreme cold. Normally here beets are ok in the winter. The life of a farmer is ever challenging.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Busy with doll sewing on these very cold days

I know it has been a long time between posts. I have been making replacement bodies for antique doll heads for a few weeks now. I feel if I don't complete these dolls now I might never do it.  So I am pleased as Punch to have this going well. Tonight the 6th one is sitting on the vanity letting her glue dry over night. These last two are labeled Greiner dolls, big girls 33 inches tall. Pictures below of some of my darlings plus the old lady herself in a selfie at 11 tonight.
This tiny china lady with a bun hair do is very choice.



And the little red hen said....

A nice group of chinas all with covered wagon style hair do's


I hope to get a nice large china done before I quit for this round. It already feels so good to have these pretty far along. E
I had an email a little while ago about this post and here is my answer to it:

Hello Pat, Thank you for writing, nice to hear from you.  I need to do a tutorial on making bodies for china and other shoulder heads and put it on YouTube for people to access easily.   I will likely never get to that.  I will try to answer a little of your email here. First I use Morning glory polyfil to stuff the bodies with.  There are other good ones and some not so good.   

 I like plain Elmer’s glue to attach the heads. I leave them a full 12 hours sitting up to dry. I place them on my bathroom vanity on a paper towel in case some excess glue should drip down.  If it does I used too much or in the wrong place where the china is not snug against the stuffed fabric torso..   The shoulder head should fit the torso, not have to be forced down hard over it.  This forcing onto an over full body breaks many a papier mache doll’s shoulders.  When you push on polyfil it pushes back. Never use sawdust, it will eventually rot the fabric it touches, and sooner sometimes than you think.  Real cotton is a great stuffing if you are lucky enough to have that.  Wool feels nice and works well but draws insects and you do not know where the doll might be stored later in its existence, I want to say “life” because they are almost alive to me.

  If needed to keep the head in place, a long strip of bias tape is good to wrap round the doll’s neck to waist and around and back several times and pin in place til dry.  You might keep a piece for this and reuse it.  Be sure to set the head in place well, I work in front of a big mirror so I do not get it crooked or turned up or down.

 I rarely sew through the sew holes of the china head, and if I do, I pull a small piece of ribbon or twill tape through the holes in the shoulder head and sew those down to the front and back of the body. Much better than trying to sew through the holes. This extra safeguard is good for a very heavy or large head.  Put the ribbon or tape in place before gluing on the head, and sew the tape ends down after all is dry.  Of course you can use just the sew holes and no glue.

I am sorry I do not have a good source of china hands and feet to recommend. I will be glad to pass along anything sent in by readers.  They are sometimes available at doll shows.  I have a large supply bought years ago, and I supplement it with porcelain hands and feet from Ebay or RL.   I keep boxes of extra doll parts.  Often they do not fit the one I bought them for and I must try again.  Be sensitive to what is and is not a good style for heads of a given era. Look at a lot of all original dolls.

 The little china hands and feet need to be tightly attached. I sew a sleeve/tube large enough to turn right side out over the piece.  I place for instance a china arm in the sewn sleeve with the wrong side out. On the end of the china arm, I gather a thread and pull it tight and then wrap it twice around the arm keeping the thread in the grove it should have, and knot it.  Then I turn the extra fabric back out of the way and put a tiny line of Elmer’s glue on the end of the china arm. Pulling the fabric back over this to glue it to that edge gives extra insurance against loss later.   Now turn the fabric sleeve right side out and voila! An arm read to stuff lightly and sew in place.   The part of the arm or leg closest to the torso should not have any stuffing, (top of the fabric tube.)  This allows them to fold well. 

    Have a great time with your growing doll family, Edyth


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