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

Thursday, March 19, 2020

For the Love of Crewel Embroidery

Once I had a great stash of Paternayan crewel yarn and could turn out wonderful pieces with the patterns of Erica Wilson and her classic book. I went on to design some of my own and loved the craft.  My hands were 40 years old then , not as they are at present.   A friend with a magnificent 36 inch wooden doll recently made the doll  a beautiful skirt of crewel and I admired it.  Here is the doll with a length just pinned around her.

 My friend gifted me with yardage of this stunning fabric to make my own doll a skirt,  and then some! What a joy to open that package!

I think I should make a skirt for myself!

I surely have the jewelry for it.  This color is really my signature red.

 The 5 strands of blood  coral are old, a gift from my sweetheart husband. The bracelet and rings I have had from 1968 and the squash is something I bought just last year.    The linen shirt is good with it all.   I am not sure when I will be stepping out of my house again to wear it. What a time this is. 

But it is an entertaining thought. I wear very long skirts, but am now a short person, at  5 ft tall, when I was 5 '5" . I think there is enough for the doll and me too!   Enjoying just looking at it.
   What a treasure from a generous friend.
Art in its many forms can bring light to a gloomy time!  e

Monday, February 24, 2020

Painting the Capilla in Contrabando

 Yesterday was a pleasant day of painting.  The subject this time is a little Chapel in Contrabando.  I saw a photo of it by my friend John Hoyt, a friend who graciously allows me to paint from his images. Then I googled a bunch more of that small town beside the Rio Grande.   I decided that when Cheryl comes to visit next month we will go and paint there for two days, in the big bend park.  Alas that is not to happen!  Reading more I learned that Contrabando was never a town, only a movie set built about 1985.  So it was just an illusion, not really real.  Then the river rose in flood and after a few more years  the chapel and all but one building were bulldozed and taken away, so more of a dream than ever,  visible only on the screen in Lonesome Dove and a dozen other western pieces of make believe.  How do I convey that sense of ephemera, for the little chapel only seen in memory or a dream or when the moonlight makes it almost visible again?    

The whole western mystique evokes the view of a time that really never was as we remember it in folklore.  I do not seek reality in my painting though it is representational. It represents a private internal response to what I see or think I see.   

  Frank Tenney Johnson painted so many western nocturnes. I am studying his palette for moonlit scenes.  

Here is the image from John Hoyt.  To see more of the buildings and surroundings, google Contrabando movie set.   Another photographer friend, Rey, has promised to share some shots he took of Contrabando. There were many appealing  little adobe buildings to paint there, I wish I could go back in time to paint there for a few day, but photos will have to do.  

blocking in,   

I will leave it on an easel in the kitchen, there are always little touches I want to make. e

Friday, February 7, 2020

Attending an estate sale by phone, 200 miles away

This was an unusual day for me, and such a pleasant one thanks to my sister Judy and her husband Jim, who  sent pictures from an estate sale in Houston today.   The great home, which I visited years ago was featured in A Simple Life with an article by Helen Pringle and pictures  by Jill Peterson. 
This was in the Special Issue 2012, The Home and Garden Issue.

This lovely house is the former home of a member of the Bell Ringer club I have enjoyed for years, as we have collected together, gone  to shows in groups, shared our homes several times a year and have had such great sisterhood.    I toured the house with Jack many years ago when around sixty of us gathered in Houston for a three day party.  Our hostess made this an unforgettable  afternoon for us as she welcomed us into this fantastic house and collection.  I don't really have enough superlatives for it.  Now the collection has had several sales as it is gradually being dispersed.  Judy attended the first of these sales a month or so back  and took a number of photos of large furniture pieces as well as some smaller items. Even after hundreds of other people had made their choices,  there were still  smalls for me to enjoy today.      I was most interested in the spinning and weaving items. 

When I alerted Judy about another sale happening today, she and Jim took me with them by phone and it was such a nice experience. I have been house bound and ill for a while,  better now and ready for a gentle adventure.   Here are pictures that she sent,  (Thank you Judy and Jim!) and then we will see what I bought!  Not much  lighting in the house today made photography iffy.  

 Hard to see much here but these old carders.   Judy just took fairly random shots till I showed excitement about something.
   I bought the yarn.

For some insane reason I love yarn winders, have bought a ton of them in many styles. I no longer live with one but miss them! I spotted tape looms in the bucket, new but useable.  So bought those.

 I would love to have grabbed all the baskets. A girl can't have too many baskets.

 Above is a little chair I selected.

   I bought the tiny one on the left, but the center one was the buy.  I have 7 or 8 that size and cannot use many more!

 Ah this is for me.  Condition is not strong, but graphics are sweet.

My check out pile.
I like the high back curved settle, but cannot use any such these days in an overfull small modern house.
So Judy and Jim checked out for me a woven coverlet with leaping deer, two large skeins of handspun Shetland wool, three new tape looms,  and two small chairs, the more primitive of which is likely not period, but will be sweet with my bears or cloth dolls.  I remember Joan's love for the old pieces and will love them forward with her.   We are but custodians for a little while.    The yarn and the new little looms speak to how women of today still practice the crafts of our sisters long back.    An amazing day!  e

Post script, now the coverlet has reached me by mail, here it is spread out to enjoy in the living room a little while, It will of course later go on the bed in the Front room done all in indigo and white.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020


Four Generations.    My tiny one played her guitar when they sang Happy Birthday. I am rich in grands and great grands. These are just a few of them.

 Sweet wax child, 36 inches.

My doll making friend Elaine came for a visit today, we took pictures of the dolls with Valentines. Snail mail is so slow they are getting their mailing done early. Linda was with us also. I remember when Linda made hundreds and hundreds of bears, and they were pictured in the top country magazines of the day.  Elaine makes great families of dolls, and each is an individual.

I am ready for spring, anyone else ready too?   e

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