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

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Fish Tail Swags for the Living room.

My house is upside down as Christmas decorations are coming out and making clutter everywhere . Son in law Gary came and brought down the tree and its base and a box of pine cones from the loft.   As I was putting up Christmas trees, I decided that I just must make the swags to go over my windows, I have been wanting them since I first moved to this house over 2 years ago.  This is how I have come to be sewing with Christmas music.   I will play it for weeks. I have a whole box of Christmas CD's.  Manheim Steamroller and Marshall Styler are favorites. 

If you have pretty windows and want minimal coverage, swags over the top are a nice way to go. They are also a way to give a more finished look to windows with modern blinds like I have in this house.  This coverlet pattern fabric was bought several years ago, my friend Dorothy had it for her shop in 2 colors, gold and blue.  I wish I could have bought more of it, it sold out in a flash.  Now it seems perfect as a quiet understated pattern for a very busy room.  For this project, one of my featherweights is on the dining table to give work space needed for the 12 ft swags. 
        As I cannot reach both sides at once when they are up above the windows, my swags do not hang with any precision. These are casual in the extreme.  I wish Peggy F were here to assist with them.  Gary set the nails I hang them on. But to hang the swags themselves I teeter back and forth trying to reach them from a step stool under my 5 ft 2 self.  Daughter Cheryl helped with one pair.  Many long arms are needed. The windows are wider than I can reach from my perch.  So casual is the way they will stay. 
One choice I had to make was how high to hang them. The tops of these are looped over straight 2 inch nails set 3 inches above the windows so as to block the least light. I could have chosen to hang them barely above the windows to give better coverage to a blind when it is raised all the way. 

Another choice was made concerning the supports for the swags.  Instead of a commercial hook or such, I use a loop of brown twine over an ordinary nail with a good head so the twine does not slip off. In hanging these It helped to arrange the folds with the fabric laid out flat on a table, then tie the loops in place and carry the curtain to its window by the loops of twine.

Now they are up on all three windows! 
I have added two Santas by designer Bethany Lowe this year.  The white one is perfect in the front bedroom done in Blue and white.  I like white Santas, white teddy bears, white flowers best always.  The white tree is from Trish Travis at Country Gatherings.

Now I can start to decorate the other Christmas tree!  e

Monday, November 17, 2014

Helen Pringle's doll

 Today I had a nice visit from DeEtta, a rug hooker, doll collector,  antiquer and lovely person. She is here in Texas from MI and we had lunch together and much fun conversation. 

 I enjoyed showing DeEtta a recent addition here, the lovely little Helen Pringle Doll, Joyce, whom I have re Christened Phoebe. Phoebe is 21 inches tall and has a heart shaped hang tag showing she is one of the Salem Sisters from 1990. Helen wrote me that she made these one year for a festival in Salem MA.  Another year she made a related group called Maids and Lads of Salem.   Precious dolls.  I would love to hear from people who have any of the dolls from these two groups sold in MA, and to buy one if it is available for adoption.  Phoebe was recently sold through Withington's auction in October of 2014, to a dealer from whom I was able to purchase the doll.

Phoebe has two bonnets, a sun bonnet of cheddar colored calico and a white indoor cap. Totally charming.

I believe she is the doll at the left front corner.

A printed cloth doll in need of a bit  of added stuffing, a sampler, a Topsy and a wheel barrow are purchases from last week's Antique show here in Fredericksburg. 
Do we know who printed this one?

A house and 2 chickens, charming.

I love big toys for the dolls and bears. I keep most in the Garage until Christmas season.   e

Monday, November 3, 2014

Covered Waggon style dolls

Above is a water color I did in the 1950's studying a doll like this, a very large one I was only able to borrow for a few weeks from a family in Hamilton Texas. I was in my 20's living on a ranch in Comanche County. This has always been my favorite style of china doll head. Photo and drawings were made in the 50's as I began to study dolls.

I wish you could see more about the settle the doll is resting on in the photograph. My mother made a doll settle for me from a 1950's magazine rack, it had four legs under a wooden base, and then two slightly slanted sides with spindles. By removing one side and making a cushion for the resulting seat she achieved a great piece of make-do doll furniture.

It was years and years before I owned a covered wagon china or a Greiner doll or the many variations of this hair style in both China and Mache. Even an Izannah Walker with her classic two curls in front of the ears and curls across the back of her head is variation of this hair style.  

I have loved and studied and repaired and collected and bought and sold antique dolls now for sixty years. What a lovely interest this has been all the way!  Dolls are just one part of a collection that includes pewter, redware, early ironware, stoneware, textiles, furniture and on and on. The first antiques I purchased on my own, (my mother collected before me) were old dolls and then Texas crocks and quilts and white ironstone and I was off and running.

 The broader study of antiques is a study of people and their art and lives. To get any kind of a bracket on the subject it is necessary to set parameters and focus.   Molded hair dolls of the 19th century, mostly of the second and third quarters will describe my dolls. I wish now I had made it more narrowly American molded hair dolls of the 19th century.  I would have missed the lovely German mache dolls and all of the chinas but had more depth in others such as Greiner and goodyear rubber and the Walkers and linen head dolls.. 

Annie who will go home to Dan one day. 
A painting of Lucy in 2007. She belongs to Trisha now.   e

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 houses 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,  there were 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.

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.

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