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

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Glorious spring here.

Our neighbor has a lovely collection of Iris in bloom right now. Cheryl has painted some of them with pastels.

Flowers are everywhere. My own dooryard is lovely.
Above is the back yard.

Patio viewed from the back.

I have five of these pretty old shutters, not sure what to do with them yet.

By the front door. Mexican Oregano is about to put on an extravagant display.

View of patio from the front.
When Jan B and my Jackie were both in their final year of life, Jan and Bill brought us a straggly young Little Gem Magnolia plant which Jan had intended to plant and never got in the ground. I did finally get it in the ground that fall and then the next May after it had come out pretty well, a devastating  hail storm just tore it to pieces leaving only a forlorn stalk.  Anyone else would have surely yanked it out and started over.   But I could not and instead said soft things to it and brought extra water and acid fertilizer to encourage it. It is four feet tall three years later, and has the sweetest blooms.  Now I want to make a painting of some.  
My brother wrote:  "Lovely story about the rescued magnolia. I could imagine a series of watercolors telling the story of "the little magnolia that could." From uncertain beginnings to devastating experiences onward to health, happiness, and strength through love and nurturing, which allows it to provide beauty and joyful scents." 
I am trying to set up a still life with a huge pewter pitcher and some blooms from the little tree.  The tree/bush is so small I do not want to cut it much. Cheryl is horrified that I would take any little branches off! The English ale jug or pitcher is an incredible piece. We shall see what I manage to do or if I manage to do anything.  This jug is one of the first pieces we acquired when we began to collect seriously, it was from the collection of Elizabeth Lees in Ft Worth.

I love the worn old oriental rugs and the feeling they impart to a room full of early furniture. From paintings of the 17th and 18th centuries, we know that the rugs were many times used as table coverings, and not as often on the floor.  The rugs I have bought over the years in sales and flea markets are mostly mid 19th century and later. 
 In handling one there is always a fine dust on my hands no matter how many times I have gently shaken it or washed it outside on the drive way.  (Never vacuum one.)  Always the fine dust is there if it is real and old and hand-woven.  I said to Jackie one time that I thought this is just a residue of desert sand and camel dung for years and years before the rugs were sold to dealers for export.  He laughed big and said these rugs were made for sale and never saw a tent or a camel!  
 I am not so sure about that in the case of the small pieces that were bag faces.  A long woven piece was folded in half to make a bag for nomadic families to carry possessions on their animals. One half of the piece was never to show and was plain tabby weave or perhaps kilim weave.  The half intended to show was the face of the bag, a lovely little rugglet.  Today I have just opened a second package from friend Jeanie who has sent me some as backgrounds for my still life paintings. They are thrilling to me!  Thank you Jean!  Here are the beautiful little bag faces she sent this time:

They will enhance paintings I hope to do in the coming months. Can you see the shape we quilters know as Ohio Star imbedded in the design?  Folk art world around echoes the same themes.    e 


  1. Hi Edyth,
    I love to visit here for it lifts the heart and makes me happy to see what is moving you to create!! :-)
    It is an endearing story of the nurtured magnolia, and how dear to see how she has bloomed for you now! So lovely :-)
    The iris paintings by Cheryl are so bright and pretty!
    I am very inspired by your still life settings and pieces that you paint! (they are urging myself to look about the house and do the like) ;-)

    Thanks for sharing!!
    Many blessings and warmth, Linnie

  2. Linnie thank you! Yes it is special to paint the things we love and live with. I would like to paint some of my dolls by and by. We shall see. I cannot ever do as much as I think up to do, but I am never bored.

  3. I love that you spoke softly to your magnolia. I have a tree story I've been writing "in my head" while I drive around and do life. Trees are important. I'm planning to plant a magnolia this year - still scouting the best spot for views from inside and views from outside. :-)

  4. Love your little pocket garden, Edyth! We here in California must adapt our gardening practices to yours to account for a changing climate. No more acres of green lawns! The ruglets are interesting. Your pewter pitcher, rug, and magnolia should make up a stunning still life. Ah, the painter's eye!


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