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

Saturday, December 29, 2012

John F. O'Neill II 1939-2012

My beloved Jackie has passed away December 28th about 2:15 pm...


At home here and in peace.  This of course is the hardest thing of my life. We had a long time to talk of it and he told me repeatedly he wanted me to survive and live forward..  I will be ok by and by, and wear Jack’s love like mink around my shoulders the rest of my life. e

Thank you for the comments here, I read each and every one more than once and thank you for the affection and support in them. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Feather tree up





 
I am sure to thicken this grouping and change it in the coming days, but it is good to have a tree up.  In past years I have enjoyed serving goodies from the little sled and around it. I can do that with this arrangement by just moving the bears and putting in serving plates of cookies and pumpkin bread. 


The lovely little doll in a blue striped morning dress is a 20 inch Izanna take off made by Jan Conwell.  Hannah loves having her for a companion.  e

The doll's party





Dollmaker Jan Conwell and her husband came for a quick visit and lunch with friend JoAnne and me. Jan brought some of her creations at my request and I was lucky enough to purchase one of them to go with my new Christmas doll, as yet unnamed but I am leaning toward Hannah.  That's Hannah in the buggy.  Jan also brought back two dear old doll heads which she had replaced shoulders on for me.  These are huge shoulder heads about 9 inches tall.   note, the greiner type on the couch in a bonnet was made by JoAnne, from her own sculpt and mold with liquishay.  The Chase child is old, as is Hannah.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Antique doll Collector mag in November 2012

    The great article on rare cloth dolls will go in one of my scrapbooks full of doll information. Imagine a collection with 20 Izannah Walker dolls!
I keep hard copy scrap books I have had since the 1950’s, much reworked but a few of the original pages are still in it, going back in at least one case to a 1930’s antiques mag clipping. Many 40’s and 50’s clippings from mags given me by Stella Hart of Cleburne who was my doll collecting mentor from the beginning. That little lady when in her late 70’s and early 80’s would set out on a greyhound bus headed for UFDC convention every summer with a little black leather valise which would contain three small dolls, house shoes and a change of unders and little ,more. She would clamp a hat on her head and away she would go, and return with her dolls wearing ribbons. She lent me hobbies mags, and talked about her dolls and introduced me to Dallas collectors, notably Mrs Tyler who invited me into her home to study and photograph her dolls. Wonderful days.
 I was living on a ranch in Comanche county then, and drove back and forth to Dallas every few months to see my parents there with my little girls in the car with me. I would stop at Mrs Hart’s and show her what I had acquired or was dressing or such. My mama was searching the goodwills in Dallas for any doll item of merit. One item my mama turned up for me back in the 1950's  was a Steiff bear, of pretty good size not a small one, which I traded to a collector/dealer in Hamilton Texas for a child’s chair. The bear looked great in the chair but when the trade was done neither of us had them both to enjoy! The little chair went through our fire, and is now painted black and is with me still. It is perhaps my earliest New England piece.
 Many year later Elizabeth P some how turned up in Ft Worth with two brown cotton print dresses from Mrs. Hart’s estate. Mrs. Hart would never cut them up for dolls dresses, but EP did so. I have tiny scraps of them still. e

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

computer distress

My dear computer and constant companion, Mouseburger, Has suffered grievous wounds from a terrible invasion from India.  Both of my family wunderkind have worked on restoring Mouseburger to health and I am assured it is safe for me to use now. I am presented with a completely new operating system to learn and a suite of programs to learn and the loss of over 3000 photos as well as favorite links and recent email addresses.  Writing and research for future writing plus other files  are gone.  Mind boggling for me.    I have lost the way to contact many friends, so when I have  an email program working on Mouseburger again, I will request that you email me so I can have contact again.  I have lost files, but must not lose friends!  
Jack and I are thinking of so many friends in New England who have waked to see terrible effects from the storm Sandy.  Our sympathy and continuing concern are with you.  Blessings, Edyth

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Playing Dolls with Jan Conwell, talented dollmaker!

Jan Conwell drove over today and brought some of her creations to visit with me.  It was a wonderful fun filled day. Jan is an artist who has a sense of whimsy as well as understanding the classic  early dolls I have always been drawn to collect. 




 
Her witch Marie Leveaux is amazing!  Jan says she did not start out to make a witch, but the doll just came to be.. Those of us who make dolls understand that characters sometimes just materialize in our hands as we work,   just as painters are alert to the lucky accident and know to leave that twist of fortune as it comes.  The little boy in pajamas who did not want to go to bed was a favorite of Jack's.  The Cinderella doll stayed here with me to enjoy for a while.  Resisting the little Izannah style doll in yellow was terribly hard!     Jan these dolls are art, congratulations on your lovely doll creations.  See a few more of Jan's dolls at   http://jdconwell.blogspot.com/search/label/Izannah%20Walker%20Dolls   

Saturday, October 13, 2012

My life with a large doll family


Dixie Redmond shared this wonderful view of an old woman who lived in a shoe type. I do have so many dolls I don't know what to do with them all just now.  It is interesting to me to see someone in this shape in 1876 or so, from an old book of Dixie's.  Please click on the picture to see it full size, thanks, Edyth

Friday, October 12, 2012

Wig heads I painted

Fun to go back through old picture files on my computer.  This one is years and years back, over 20 I think!  Jack's sister found these at a flea market somewhere and I had to have them!  I did not have an old one to look at and paint from, it was before Google images, so I did not not know they should have had smaller black eyes.  I used nice early chintz for the bodice on one of them, and a piece of very early red print we had bought from dealer Don Ladd in CT.  Look at that delicate sewing basket beside them!  The handwork on the bonnet was incredible! Ex collection Felicia Sessums.  Antiques have such stories, they lead us often down happy memory trails.  Barbara Ladd I hope you are reading! Love, Edyth 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Rocky Hill School House and more



Cheryl and I have been busy getting ready for art lessons the next 10 days, so not much posting going on for me. I will get back, promise.

Cheryl's paintings can now be seen and puurchased at the gift shop in the Rocky Hill school complex, 5 miles east of Fredericksburg on Hwy 290.  The shop is called the Rocky Hill Collection.

This is a beautiful new venue owned by Fredericksburg Mayor Jeryl Hoover. Rebecca Rather is opening a restaurant or tea room there, called the Pink Pig.  It is really going to be special!  Those of us who enjoyed Rather Sweet in Fredericksburg will want to taste the foods in Rebecca' new place.  There are 6 outstanding B and B's there as well.    

Something different,  a friend showed me the way she and her daughter are lighting some of their garden paths. Buy an old metal chandelier that has little upturned glass shades or cups on the arms. In each of these little bowls place a solar garden light. Hang the chandelier high up in a pretty spot where light is wanted. This requires some sunlight each day on the piece to charge the lights. It can be really pretty!   Edyth

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Our New little Kitchen

I am very happy with this room!
A Galley kitchen is our favorite kind, with everything right within reach.  Unseen are great pullout shelves in the lower cabinets.   At the far end of the kitchen is the breakfast area, with a little atrium outside which holds mostly kitchen herbs right now. The rusty red cupboard in the breakfast area was once part of the red cape that was lost. How fortunate I feel to still have this piece. A lot of our early fireplace iron is used in this room purely for decor.  My chalk deer rug hangs over Jack's black settle.
Jack has made a hanging shelf to go over the sink, it holds redware pottery which is very nice with the grey green paint. I have his pattern for the shelf ends and will try to make a downloadable pdf for those who want to make one like it.







 



 

The ship weathervane showing through from the living room ledge is a nice touch Jack thought up.
The Langhorne Tavern sign rug is in honor of one in my family history.  I know the name was Langhorne's Tavern, and belonged to Maurice Langhorne in Virginia during the 18th century. I have no idea what the real taven sign may have looked like.  The Langhorne family home from that time is still standing and lived in, I received a cd of photos taken in and ourside of the house, wonderful!   A nice gift from an internet genealogist friend.   The colors in the new kitchen are all in the rug. The rug was hooked years and years ago, but my color choices seem stay the same.
 This kitchen really knows how to cook, if only I could remember how to do my part!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Friends in high places!

I have pared down a lot of Christmas decor, even sold some of the feather trees, This nice one has been sitting out in my bedroom all the hot summer long feeling very much out of it's element.  We finally got around to storing it tonight, Jack contrived a place to hang it from a ceiling in my closet that is over 10 feet high at that point. By means of two suspended hooks, it can safely stay there till wanted again. 
Antique Feather trees were mostly intended to fold up for storage when they were new a hundred years back. (And they were still made into the 1950's don't forget) . But time and age make that a poor option now.  Nor can they be stored in areas like our attic where extremes of temperature could cause the wire to rust and the feathers to drop away.  

Jack laughed when I took his picture up on the ladder, but I told him lots of people have problems like this and wil be glad to see what we have done with it. It is an entirely different solution from the one we used in our last house, where we hung the tree and two more beside it straight down from their bases attached to the closet ceiling.  Write us in comments if you have an interesting way to store yours!  edyth

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Selling some things to fit into our smaller new home.

If you have not looked at the O'Neill's Antiques blog lately, click on it when you have a minute to see newer items offered there. Just click on the little banner that says O"Neill's Antiques at the top of  the Right hand column.   Thank you, Edyth

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Our Stoneridge home is for sale now.

Jack listed it in the local paper today, and I have made a simple blog for it at  http://lightstonehome.blogspot.com/   I will add a lot more photos over time as I find more and take more.  I will miss the yard.   This is mealy blue sage last summer. 


We will see if we can sell it without a broker for a little while. We have several broker friends we like and can work with if that is needed.  Right now we are still cleaning and freshening it.  Wish us luck!  Edyth

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A turkey hooked rug

Sunday we had a pleasant visit from Gina, a rug hooker we made acquaintance with long years back.  As she is an antique collector, a doll lover and a fine rug maker, we had a lot to talk about.   Here is a picture of Gina and her rug, hooked on a pattern from Country Gatherings.

We enjoy a visit from friends with similar interests to our own. Jack and I miss the company of people who used to come see us when we had our antique shop. There were always interesting people discussing American Decorative Arts of earlier times,  furniture, paint colors, fireplace iron, textiles, pewter, and on and on.. Where was it made, who made or used it, and how and when? What are the good/better/best points of this item?  How should it be restored? (Or should it be!) 
This was an endlessly fascinating study and dialog for us, a tapestry of interests so wide and varied it could never all be learned. That was what being a dealer in antiques meant to us, not the more publicised TV image of making some great find, bought for pennies and worth great sums.    Rather we concentrated on learning to see.. and to identify and evaluate what we found. Form and surface and provenance were our measures of value.   We both are grateful to have had the good fortune to live this lifestyle for a few years.  Our home is filled with reminders of all those years of adventure, very saticefying indeed!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Four Early Hartford Connecticut Stoneware Pots in a Texas Kitchen










As a fan of early 19th century American stoneware it was exciting to come across a large shapely three gallon crock with an unfamiliar name on it, Peter Cross Hartford, at a local show way down here in the Texas Hill Country. The large open mouth vessel had all of the earmarks of a very early piece: ovoid form, some scars from the kiln as well as extra details around the neck. I estimated the date of manufacture at around 1815 because of those features. Needless to say I added it to my collection. I was able to find it in my reference books (before I had Google) and see that Peter Cross operated a pottery from 1805 until about 1815 in two locations on Front St. in Hartford. Not many of his marked pieces have survived and are quite sought after.

Peter Cross sold his first pottery location in 1810 to Goodwin and Webster and opened another that he sold in 1815 to Benton and Stewart. They employed a potter named Daniel Goodale jr. who later bought the pottery in 1822. Goodale made pottery there until 1830 when Goodwin and Webster took over that pottery as well.

My Benton and Stewart jug was found at Brimfield and came with the story that those were the names of two retired sea captains that decided to go into the stoneware business. It was pleasantly ovoid shaped and had a series of rings around its neck which pretty much dates it 1820 or earlier. My research did show that they were indeed retired sea captains. Sometimes the story does match up with the facts. Very few pieces with that mark show up.

The Goodale crock was also found at Brimfield on another trip. It appears to retain its original lid which is unusual and features a nice bulbous form and Hartford mark which appealed to me.

The Goodwin and Webster pot was found in one of our favorite shops in Willington Connecticut. Although not rare, pots turned out by Goodwin and Webster are usually shapely and stylish. They were probably the most successful of the early Connecticut potters.

All four of our pots are related and were made in close proximity to one another, a fact that I didn’t realize when I bought them. I think it only fitting that they now sit side by side although they are many miles from Hartford.    Jack

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