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.

For more than sixty years I have studied, collected, repaired, and bought and sold antique dolls. They have been back ground music in my life at every stage, sometimes louder, sometimes subdued, but always there with me. To see only the posts about dolls on this blog, click the banner on the right titled Dolls for My Red Cape. Keep clicking “Older Posts” to see more. Some of the posts featuring rug hooking are gathered under the banner For Cathy. From time to time items are offered for sale under the banner “O’Neill’s Antiques” which was our shop name for many years. ~Edyth O’Neill

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Dear Virginia, I miss seeing you but enjoy your letters so I can keep up with you. Mostly I am sewing on doll bodies and doll clothes. I like to have a nice display of the dolls and old toys at Christmas and this year I will be able to again. This week I am mending on a fragment of a beautiful old log cabbin quilt to hang in the back of one of my doll cases.
My doll collector friend JoAnne came by yesterday for the first time in several weeks, she can see I have been working on the dolls and decorating their cases. Breaking one this week really reinforced the need to have more of them behind glass. And of course dusting them is a problem when there are so many out loose running around the house.
There is a hint of fall now. The purple lab lab bean, Mr Jefferson's vine is blooming. Our back yard is small, but I enjoy it hugely! I have a fall wreath on the front door and an arrangement in the dining room and some pumpkins here and there. Barb Carroll and Julie Marie Smith and a few more rug hookers are coming to see us this weekend, I will have pumpkin bread and Choc sheath cake made.
Our Grandson Tyler loves my baking!! We are enjoying him so much. He is studying Lord of the Flies. I had missed that so am learning of it too! I suspect that having him around is going to be like another ticket through life!! Catch the brass ring and go around again!
This morning at 6 am Jack was explaining to me what nano technology is because Tyler is interested in that, and then when Tyler was up we had a discussion of Pele the Brazillian soccer player, and then we told Tyler we want him to pick up a good knowledge of 17th and 18th century American Decorative arts while he is living with us. His friend Josh has a band and the prospect of a drum set looms. All of us love music. Drums??!!!! Our life is a many splendored thing with this bright young person in our home. Now if I can just keep him fed!! My bisquits just evaporate at the table, and milk goes down by the gallon! He is 5'10" and 180 pounds at age 14, and needs lots of fuel! Take care and keep in touch, Best, Edyth

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Tasha before the fire





The best one still just breaks my heart, a 24 inch coifure doll with the high three part hair do, that was complete and perfect with original clothing, and everything perfect, brown eyed 1830 doll. In the terrible first 24 hours after the fire, when we were dealing with 50 people and hundreds of decisions, and I was in complete shock, We cut away and threw away the soaking leather body and darkened clothes to give the soaking wet head a chance to dry, which it did although much gesso was lost. We saved 26 sodden warping peeling charred papier mache heads that way. I have all of her parts, terribly darkened but she still looks at me from sad little eyes. I am still thinking what to do about her, I may make a new body and attach her wooden legs and arms and mount the head with out repainting at all, just see how that does, at least it shows what she was, and she is not charred, just smoked. I have left her till almost last of the restorations from the fire, I think to do the least is the way to go.
Does anyione like these wig heads? They are cousins to the papier mache dolls. These two are some I used to have, which I had repainted. I put nice early fabric at the necks. Two more similar ones are in my closet I look forward to having some fun painting and "dressing" them. The Star of Texas Rug Hooking camp is starting next week, Barb and Julie Marie and a few more are in and out of our house a number of times during the week so it will be a happy busy time! No doll work next week!!

Monday, September 17, 2007



I had a sad accident today, I had the larger doll next to my chair to start a green print dress for her, and knocked her over on the carpet, PHONE rang (stand too flimsy!!) and it broke the head mostly along the seam up one side, then down the part of her hair then nearly an inch down her forhead. I was sick and cried out and Jack came to see. He says he can put some crazy glue on the surface of the hair crack and it can help. The forhead I may leave alone, anything I do will look worse. She is as thin as an egg shell. She has endured many repairs before. I bought her originally from Richard Wright, and her head was in pieces and off at the neck and arms and legs gone. Jack carved and I mended and she stood 27 inches tall. an 1840 ish papier mache coifure doll or mm doll. I have stood her back up on the desk on a wider stand and will leave it alone till Jack gets some glue for her. I have finished the wooden doll in the blue dress except needing a tie for her waist. See her undressed 2 posts below. Also dressed a china over the weekend. I have over 30 dolls to dress, I quit counting at that point but there are more. It seems almost overwhelming and is enough to slow my buying if nothing else will. I cannot remember ever cracking a doll but one other time before in all that I have had. E

Friday, September 14, 2007


My friend Rachael has offered to dress this big china girl for me, so the doll will travel to Colorado this week!! Thanks Rachael! Several doll artist friends are helping with the dressing. Without the help of friends I would have no hope of ever getting them all done. Others have given lovely old children's dresses. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Edyth

I think I will put this one back together today. She has an interesting all wood torso and head, no the head does not have details pressed of gesso or composition it is carved wood through out. There is a hole ( original) through the shoulder part, where we have used a cloth tube to hold the wooden arms Jack made and I made cloth pantaletts to gather around the doll's waist to hold the wooden legs he carved. I believe the head with torso to be German and date about 1835. She was smoke and fire damaged in our house fire.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

There will be a hookin tomorrow at the hanger here in Fredericksburg, I will see so many ruggers there, always over 100 attend and bring rugs and hook and eat together and enjoy exhibits and vendors. I miss my rug hooking friends. I am not hooking these days, but of course always have a couple of works in progess sitting in a basket waiting. I hope to make again some of the hooked pieces we lost in the fire.
I have devoted most of my craft time to working on the dolls, and yesterday got fabric backings in the big glass cases I keep many of them in. We cut styrofoam panels to fit the spaces and then covered that with a patriotic toile in a soft sepia color.
I will hang various things on this back "wall" behind and above the dolls. For instance where I have a group of boy dolls playing with a large wooden toy cannon about 1875 vintage, I want a piece of old bunting or a faded silk flag or such. Am looking for that. I dont use much bright white, so want an ecru or tea dyed look.
Another section has some wax dolls quilting with tiny quilt squares and I have a nice piece of a log cabin top behind them, absolutely best colors! The small textiles, the clothes and bonnets and little old doll quilts, are a big part of the charm to me of a doll collection. Melanie Z made a small sampler which we framed for the dolls about 4 x 6. I say we, because Jack helps me with every thing I do always. His wonderful doll sized furniture is so charming. A little of that shows on the blog and I will get better photos us as we progress. Best, E

Thursday, September 6, 2007

unplanned parenthood at 76!

Dear Friends, If I have seemed distracted of late, it is with great cause! we are happy to say that our 14 year old grandson, Tyler, has come to live with us today and go to school here in Fredericksburg, and be the joy of our lives! We pray that we will be able to keep him here and help him on the road to the fine man he can be! Liz Carpenter wrote a book about suddenly having 3 teenagers to raise when she was 80!! Called "Unplanned Parenthood" I believe. I will get right to the library and check that out!!! She did it with love and humor and strength! Wish us all of that! Edyth

Blog Archive

Visits