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, October 22, 2016

A Fall Sale

Crisp bright fall days make good times for yard sales.  Some friends and I had a variation of that on Barbara's lovely screened back porch yesterday.  Our guests came by invitation, there was no sign or ad for our event in this intimate space.  Barbara and Jean had antiques to offer and I had my paintings and also a small table of Christmas things. Linda had a pretty display of her jewelry.  I would have liked to include photos with people, but after the sale started I never got back to taking pictures. So here is a taste of it.  

The tavern table with lovely turnings was from Maine.

A lucky person took home this wonderful comb back Windsor chair.

Barbara's homemade ginger cookies and pomegranate punch.

You can see some of the jewelry on etsy at

This was the first time I have shown my paintings this year and they were well received and I am much encouraged! Several friends came who are really interested in art and their comments are special.  And these four little ones sold!  

Bittersweet and Indian corn and pumpkins make a festive set up.

 All were priced and offered for sale except two large ones I may have giclee's made of.

One buyer said these paintings remind her of 17 century paintings and I was thrilled she recognized it. That is exactly what I am studying:  chiaroscuro, the play of light and shadow as mastered most famously by Rembrandt and taught today by David Leffel and his pupils of which my own instructor is one.   Leffel applies this technique to fine antique oriental porcelain and the like, while I am using it to paint the humble American pottery and less formal antiques Jack and I collected.  This gives my own paintings a personal voice.  Search Google images for David Leffel and see his amazing work!

Note, detail of the wooden doll above:
She came as just a carved wooden head and torso with a hole from shoulder to shoulder as on a Motschmann doll.  I made a tube of cloth holding the arms Jack carved. To give her legs, I sewed drawers with the legs and gathered the top edge around her waist. So no glue or other fastening mars the doll herself. There is no paper mache molded over the wooden base, she is a wooden doll with a very thin layer of gesso under the paint of her head. Worn spots tell the story.

Of course I had to buy some little treasures.
It was a great day, thank you Barbara.

PS If you would like to have a cupboard for your dolls like the one Jack made for mine, the pattern and instructions for it are in the new December Early American Life Magazine.  e


  1. The sale looked fabulous, Edyth! Everything looked like a treasure to me. I love your paintings especially of the humble subjects. The onions assume major importance in your art. The bonnet on the hatstand caught my eye! I have been adding to my collection of china head dolls...(I seem to be drawn to the ones that are small in stature).

  2. In all of my collecting life I have never seen a time when I thought china head dolls could be had as easily as now. Yes some few bring thousands, but many fine little dolls are very modestly priced. Mrs Seely's china guide is great for inspiration as you add to your own. I love the many variations in them, almost endless it seems. I am terribly tempted to keep adding them and already have a nice cradle full.

  3. what beautiful photos my friend! and I am loving your style of painting ~ that one with the sampler, doll and sewing basket just whispers to me!!!!

  4. Your photographs have captured what sounds like a lovely day! So many beautiful things! Your paintings are amazing, especially the one with the little papier-mache milliners model & sampler... The apples are also one of my favorites. My copy of EAL came today, so I have just finished reading your article, which of course is wonderful! You continue to amaze... xoxo Paula

  5. I love the direction your painting is going. Yes to the giclees!

  6. Thank each of you for your encouraging words. The little doll that looks like a papier mache millner's model is actually a wooden doll, at least her head and torso are carved from one piece of wood. No it is not an alien head with a layer of mache molded over a wooden base, but wood itself, with just a thin layer of gesso under the paint. This one piece head and torso is all she was when found, Jack made wooden arms and legs for her which I have attached with cloth.

  7. I am so in awe of your apples and onions especially. You have made the humble edibles glorious.

  8. Oh how I wish I could have been there. I love your art in all it's forms! Your paintings of the onions is delightful and the lemons!I will be on the look for the EAL issue at the local Barnes and Noble. Lovely day it looks like!


Blog Archive