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

Monday, April 21, 2014

Petting the house the day before Pictures are made

This is the fun day, I have stopped now for cheese and crackers and a glass of tea. Linda just called from Kerrville that she has found the hanging baskets of white flowers I need.  I have taken off all the arm covers from upholstered pieces and hidden the telephones and waste baskets.  My kitchen phone lives in a green shaker carrier upon a checked cloth (from Trisha)  that can be pulled up over it at a minute's notice. I learned this from Virginia long ago.
 
Pot plants have been borrowed from next door and fabric pieces have been gathered. The nice ochre check tea towel on the front of my stove was woven by Penny at a weavers workshop in Vermont.  What a treasured gift when I know she made just two of these that trip.

I have cut herbs at my house and Barbara's to hang on the sun porch.

 
The bakers at HEB were all running about this morning early showing me the prettiest loaves as they came from the oven!  It was hard to choose among them all.  to the left of one picture, see bay leaves from Virginia's Bay tree on a treen plate Jack turned long back.


 
Barbara is working high and low, on a ladder in this shot. Tomorrow morning Barbara will come with flower arrangements she has made and stored in a large refrigerator at her house. 
 
 
Cheryl has brought three great ferns to lend for the patio. I would have some there permanently but they cannot stand that much full sun. Gary and Beth will take the Television out this evening.
 
Next to the carrier on the table is a cookie cutter made by Beth and Gary. The square under the carrier was woven by sweet friend Cathy in Massachusetts. The little blue carrier is the first antique Jack and I ever bought together, before we were married. What an avalanche of Americana followed through the years!  There was never anything else we wished we had done instead.  There were more than forty trips to New England to search and study and buy for our small shop.    The collection I live with now in my retirement nest is so personal and full of happy memories as well as  present good times like today.  Friends are the whole story, sharing enjoyment of our homes and gardens and families together. Never more true to me than right now today.  e
 
 
 
 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter greetings

My three Greatgrands.

Also a birthday cake for Bailey. She has plenty of help from her small brother and sister. e

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Cut up an early dress?




Absolutely no contest.  When a child's hand stitched garment has survived intact or even mostly so, who am I to destroy it as an antique forever!  Most of my larger dolls wear old clothing that I have carefully hand tucked or softly hemmed or otherwise altered to look right on the dolls, using long loose stitches easy to back out. 
Pictured here is an infant's long dress from the mid 19th century made of  the ubiquitous "double pink" which was and is so pretty on a child or a doll. To use on my doll it needed to be shortened by many inches. I turned up a neat hem and never mind that it is 8 inches wide.  I did not iron the hem in, but just softly ran it though my fingers to press it the least bit so it hangs nicely.  I have taken pictures inside to show the simple construction, just two rectangles with the top corners cut away, then sleeves applied that are each a simple ruffle the same width for its whole length.
Now here is the temptation, look at the doll and see that like so many the upper arms are not pretty and should be covered. Ah, part of the 8 inch hem would do nicely to fabricate longer undersleeves to give a great look! But I cannot cut it so undersleeves will have to wait and be made later of soft white goods.  I am watching now for an apron to tie around her middle.

This doll, an early glass eyed papier mache head made by Andreas Voit about 1845 or 50 went through  my house fire in 2005. She is entirely repainted by me as she was blackened, almost charred, by the smoke and fire.  I have kept some of these large glass eyed Voit children anyway, as they will not come my way to buy again. 
This doll head style with her center parted short hair and wispy curls at the sides was doubtless an inspiration for some of the dolls made in this country by Ludwig Greiner. I show one of his earliest dolls marked only with a black stamp "Patent Head"  (ex collection Winnie Langley)  and another slightly later doll with a standard 1858 Greiner label.  Thank you sweet friend Martha for the little cape you crocheted for her.  Her dress is original to her I believe, a nice sheer wool plaid. I have very few dolls in original clothing and I treasure the ones that are.



 This Motschmann baby has her complete original outfit in the cradle with her, including dress Jacket and cap.
 

 
 The dolls know a photographer from EAL  is coming next week and they are all aflutter hoping to slip into the pictures.  e

Friday, April 18, 2014

A Tiny choice little China Doll is my newest one.

It is so special to find a little 4 inch lass with original adorable clothing from 1850 to 60.  This one also has perfectly painted features which so many do not. The tiny pink cape is sheerest wool lined with gossamer fine silk.I am thrilled to add her to my collection. I have run out of room for adding large dolls now, but there are so many small ones to take joy in!  Click on any pictures in the blog to see them larger.  e



Raised planters from livestock feeders.

Today I entertained a special gentleman in my garden. He took many photos and plans to share them with Master Gardeners in the Houston area as well as in his work with the Agri Life extension service.  I am happy to think that this simple planting solution might work for a lot of gardeners who do not get to the ground easily. 

I discussed my wishes for raised beds with my daughter Beth. I have had the ones with wooden frames before, but at 83 something higher is needed.

A few days later she called me and said she had seen the perfect solution in a Tractor Supply flyer. We looked together and began to think how to modify and use the livestock feeders offered.  I would never have imagined re purposing these as she did!  Cattle feeders 10 feet long were the most attractive at first to me. Horse feeders 5 feet long and taller were also offered for a higher price. After a time I came to like the taller ones best.

A trip to the store showed they look almost indestructible. We came home with two of the tall 5 foot ones and one of the lower 10 foot type.   My son in law Gary drilled a lot of holes in the bottom.  I had the idea to put a layer of Styrofoam peanuts in the bottom covered with a piece of fiberglass screening. Then many bags of a good quality potting soil filled them all.  Gary fitted the long one with a metal stock panel down the center to serve as a support for vine crops like snow peas. This panel was held in place by stay wires on each side in several places. 

These big planters are now a central part of my vegetable garden for salad crops.  Beth calls them my Salad Bowls. Two are shown in the first picture. This was last fall before I had all of the grass removed.
Another view shows the 10 foot with winter broccoli and young peas. 
The third picture shows two of the Salad Bowls in my garden this April.
These are one solution, there must be many other things being repurposed for tall feeders also.  Best, 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.

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