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

Friday, July 1, 2016

Yes I still collect.

I change a few things and think perhaps I am downsizing a bit, and then I fall under the spell of other charming stuff.    Lately I have bought among other things, 4 pieces of simple American redware, sticking with the forms and glazes that are familiar to me from the years and years of buying trips with Jackie.  I have also bought back from a friend a doll bed of Izannah size which I owned a long time ago. I hope to make a quilt for it from a log cabin piece I have.  Here is the little bed. The tiny china head doll Patience is holding was a gift from friend Linda.

Today was one of those magical green summer days with a breeze and sweet to be out in at least in the shade.   I went with a friend to a living estate sale in Comfort Texas.  It has been the home of a great collector and is such a lovely property.

There were rooms and rooms of collectables. Some of the most striking things to see were the old doll houses and room boxes, it was all I could do to leave them and they were  reasonably priced.  See a few below.

My large bear, Elvis who has been with me a while, is holding a Steiff deer I bought for Cheryl. The deer is about 11 inches tall.

I added two small baskets for my dolls.

I bought an easel and a bit of other stuff but it is always bringing home an antique doll that makes me happiest.
I could not resist the little so called Mad Alice, an English split head wax who has lost her hair. I will make her a dress out of earliest calico and place her in a cupboard near some old leather books.  These little dolls are just one generation later than the English Wooden Queen Ann dolls and the family resemblance is plain. 

And the twins,  the twins, how could I leave them?  They are clearly originally twin dolls and have grown old together. I believe they date in the 1850's  The dolls have been repaired and sadly repainted to a fresh new look which I may be able to temper somewhat. The hand stitched bodies are alike and the torn leather arms are there.  I can retain them and shore them up some. The clothes are identical and all hand stitched of course.  The perfect cartridge pleats are so dear.  I have some precious laundry to do now.  Each doll is 28 inches tall.  One old shoe is missing.  When they are ready to invite friends in to tea I will show them to you again.   

I have decided the doll’s pink dresses are too important and too fragile to wash them.   They date from the 1850’s and are light weight pink cotton print.   Without the twin dresses the doll’s impact would be lost.    I will wash unders which are sturdier cotton.   I plan to go today to Cheryl’s house to use her softened water to wash doll clothes.  I want to make a grouping with one of Jack’s doll size tea tables and two chairs and these dolls.  I am looking to buy a nice Staffordshire tea set. If you have such to sell let me hear from you. I have Alerton's Little May in brown, but those are 1880.    No place to put it all!    This may be the thing that breaks the rule and lets toys into the living room, I have banned them in the past except at Christmas time.    joneill816@austin.rr.com 

( Miss Edyth promised to get rid of my eye liner. )

Here is a similar doll of about the same size and age already in the doll family here.  This doll has a nice complexion I believe to be all original and untouched but very little is left of lip color and eye brows and cheek color. 
The child's dress dates to the 1830's and is from the Velma Driscol collection. It fits nicely without alteration, but the waist of the doll is smaller than it shows to be. Note the beautiful shape of the sleeves.

For comparison also here is a doll offered on ebay lately.  A similar doll  with much restoration as per description,  and clothes not as charming I would think.  This one has a lot of her original finish which the twins do not.  e


  1. Dear Edyth, your new treasures are marvelous! I love hearing your plans for them in the future! This indeed proves that you are never too old to play with dolls. But I want to ask why no toys in the living room except for Christmas? The red leather arms are very distinctive. Please keep us informed as to your progress with these treasures.

  2. thank you Mary, send me your email address so I can go into this. e

  3. . I touched the dolls just the least bit here and there, removed the dark lines around the eyes, brushed across the new looking brows with a soft bit of flesh color, cleaned up the hair line in back a nice bit, and lessened the amount of lip color. I cannot get back the original look, it is quiet covered over and gone. I doubt I will attempt a lot more, but I could do a complete repaint over the entire heads if They want it. I will work to get a look of wear on the hair here and there. e

  4. Hi Edyth
    The Doll Bed is wonderful so are the dolls Always enjoy when you share photos I have a question about the twin dolls What makes them twins Because of being made and dressed alike. Like today you can find the same packaged doll one after another Being the mother of twins Just curious

    linda m

    1. The handmade matching clothing did not come out a of a factory but was made for the pair in the 1850's and is still on them. This is pretty conclusive that they have always been together and are not an assembled pair. One can find matching china doll heads today and dress them alike, but the clothes would not be period ones from the time the dolls were made.

  5. Oh my Edyth, what an amazing sale. What treasures you found. I love all of the houses, would have been hard pressed to leave them behind. Your new/old bed is wonderful, looks to be a rope bed?? Can't wait to see the new dolls once your talented hands touch them.

  6. Amazing new additions to your collections! What a fantastic sale, you must have had such a wonderful time looking through all the offerings and choosing just which items HAD to come home with you. The twins are delightful. Just looking at them has started me daydreaming about their original owner(s)... sisters... twins... or just one little girl who longed for sisters of her own.

  7. Thank you, I love to have comments, please stop in again!

  8. Patience looks lovely sitting on that bed!

  9. Dear Edyth, Seeing all of your lovely new additions and the estate photos made me so joyful and happy!! (and also the dolls and treasures that you have already)!! What a dear and sweet English split head doll! She has the most pleasant expression!! And the twins!! They will be(and are)perfect!! How special they are!! What a sweet treasure ~twins~!! :-)
    I have had the great fortune to recently come to own a papier mache milliner doll from 1830s-40s and I just love her, she is so dearly pretty and special!! Phebe Rush (named after her original owner)I am now going about learning everything that I can about these dolls! I fell in love with a Greiner doll behind glass on display at our living history village museum, so I had to go home and look on line and was stricken with the "bug" !!! :-) And then yesterday I found some wonderful antique clothing pieces for her at the antique co-op, for only a few dollars!!(with a wonderful shear bonnet perfect for Betany Bountiful(my Paula made Izannah :-)) And also I brought home a darling old baby doll (who looks so sweet next to Betany) that I wish you could see! I am so thrilled!! :-)

    Your home is so lovely!! Everything is so tastefully displayed!I always love to visit your blog :-)
    Many Blessings and Joy, Linnie


Blog Archive