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
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
We are having a warm but dry spring, and our gamble to plant tomatoes early looks like it will be a winner. For the next week we are expecting highs in the eighties. Nothing is really more rewarding to me than watching living plants, so the busytime of spring is the height of joy. My overused hands do not allow me to actively garden anymore. But I water and putter.
Tending the house and yard and enjoying our hobbies and visiting friends and family, all fill out pleasant days around the basics in life like caring for Tyler, and for Jack's parents (90 and 96!) who live nearby. Escaping into hobbies like collecting, or handcrafts like knitting and quilting keep a happy balance for people and I believe have importance for that reason.
Just as everything in the garden wants attention right now, there is always the ongoing care of restoring the doll collection. I feel decidedly like the old woman in a shoe with so many dolls I don't know what to do! 80 plus dolls is quite a commitment. Only a handful of them have been bought in original clothing on original bodies in acceptable condition for display. Dolls in prime condition command a premium, when one can find them. So for the past two years now I have been working first to repaint heads and make new bodies for the 26 fire damaged dolls we saved, not to even mention clothes for them yet. And I have added over 50 more antique dolls, almost all of them very needy too! I worry at night that my hands and my time will not be sufficient to put them all in good order. Thank goodness for the help of friends who have made garments for some of them.
Now Jack is making some saddle type stands for them. We used coat hanger wire, in dowels on round wooden bases. A belt of velcro around the waist holds the doll tightly in place. Some are quite heavy, the Greiner doll pictured is 36 inches tall. we have made 4 now, need about 12 or 15 more! In case you are wondering, the little green house in the photo is our cat's door into the garage. Edyth
Friday, March 21, 2008
For a number of years I enjoyed painting papier mache eggs to go around our old hen at Easter time. I did most of them in a take off of the Quimpere pottery style. The only ones left now are these two large ones. I think I need to revive the tradition and paint some more. Barb Carroll and a few close friends have been gifted with them in the past. Barb has a lovely collection of Quimpere pottery, as does my little mother in law. In it's earliest history this tin glazed earthenware of France paralleled the production of Delft, the 17th and 18th century pieces Jack and I have collected over the last 15 years or so. Folk art springs from a common well in us all! Edyth
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Jack and I love early iron and had a huge collection of it before the cape burned, all of the iron was saved and cleaned, but little of it has found a place in our lives here in a modern new house. Still the old hand wrought pieces are decorative and graphic, and we find ways to show it here and there. Among the charming pieces we have had a long time are a set of quilter's clamps, one for each corner of the frame, when 4 long flat boards were used to make a collapsible frame. This was often set across several chair backs to hold it up while a group of quilters gathered around to finish it in perhaps a long day. The little hand made ones in the photo with some hooks belonged to our friend Felicia many years back. Felicia used them on her mantle to hold garlands of seasonal material, not only at Christmas when they held strands of cranberry garland. This was more interesting than a nail or hook in the mantle board. Yesterday, friend Nancy gave us a set that had been her grandmother's quilting clamps. These are Victorian in feeling, and mass produced as are most of the Christmas things we collect. I thought you might enjoy seeing these. Edyth
I heard from friend Helen, "Happy Easter to you two, and, as the old toast goes, "to all whom you love, to those who love you and to those who love those who love you." Just visited the website and spent a pleasant while reading it - like a visit, almost. Great clamps, by the way. My Grandmother Ashcraft had a quilting frame with clamps like that in her old West Texas farmhouse, except it was suspended from the ceiling by ropes, let down to work and rolled up other times. I have such vivid memories of that place and time, bleak and bare and a world of sand, but home to me."
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Spring is here and Easter is almost! We have a few tomato plants in the garden and the daffodills have finished. Our part of the state is very very dry, but we are grateful to have been spared the floods north of us. Every day we want to spend some time out on the back deck just taking in the fine spring air! From that vantage point, unfortunately we can see a hundred things that need doing in the yard. Instead I have been enjoying a host of projects inside.
At the Boerne antique show a few weeks back we picked up 4 little dresses for some of the doll family. I am committed to getting as far along as possible dressing them this year. Pictured is a little wax Alice in her new dress. I made her fresh unders and the dress does very well just as it came to us. Friend JoAnne is searching among her treasures for just the right ribbon.
Today I finished a copy of a painting lost in our family some time back. It was tiny and dearly bought. Jack gave it to his mama and she loved it as much as I did, but lost it in her move to Fburg 6 years ago. I had taken a photo of it and recently found that and scanned it and have it now to paint from. My dolls love anything to do with fairy tales. I am sure the one we had, while a hundred years or more old, was not original, but rather a take off on an engraving by Gustave Dore. Here it is, finished except needing a warm colored varnish after it dries a few months.
So many people have emailed lately telling me of their projects, we are all busy as bees it seems! Have a great Day!! Edyth
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