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. ~Edyth O’Neill

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy New year and merry Christmas all in one dear friends. The time just flies does it not? We have 7 households of our family here now, and so are much involved in all of their activities. All of our grown children but one live here, and all of our grand children are here, and one great grand and another coming soon! They all need something constantly. Jack's parents are 91 and 97 and a handful for him to care for! They are still in their own home, but no longer drive or go out much. Jack does all the errands and fixing and yard work and on and on, in between times he drives Grandchildren and keeps everything else going! Old John won't keep the doors closed behind his wheelchair so he found and killed a very significant snake in his kitchen sink this am!! Fortunately my fragile little MIL did not see it. Something every minute, but most of it good. Hope each of you are holding your own, Best, E

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sharing our Christmas preparations

Two days till Christmas!

Good morning Rachael. Thank you for sugggestions of a name for my new doll. I have not settled on one yet, am considering Bridgette, we did have a lovely white cashmere goat of that name a few years ago. I miss the goats. Jack is outside now cutting magnolia leaves for me to use in the house. Incredibly there are two lovely white blooms this week, high in the top of the young but tall tree.
Our black Cat Cleopatra is helping Jack, she goes about with us all the time when we are outside, as a dog would. She will even go to the car door to greet guests who drive up and stop. Cleo moved here with us from the farm.
She was running along before me one day at the farm, when I was carrying large flower pots out in front of me and in 8 or 10 inch grass, unable to see where I was walking. If Cleo had not been ahead of me in her friendly way, I would never have seen the rattler till I stepped on all 5 feet of him. Cleo caused the snake the rear up and rattle and I saw it in time to retreat loudly! She is a highly regarded cat!
Christmas cooking and decorating and wrapping are in full swing here. Warmly, Edyth

Saturday, November 29, 2008

How do you Store your Feather trees?

Thanks all for well wishes! I am on the mend. We had a Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving at daughter Beth's home, and wish all the families in this world could be as warmly happy as we were. 8 of the children and 2 of the adults climbed nearby Enchanted Rock after the big lunch.
Elizabeth painted her new point shoes with artist's acrylics. Her dancing is such a big part of her life, and she has a dancer's barr and mirror in her bedroom.
I love that she paints a bit so am including it as a proud Grandmother should.
Today, Saturday after Thanksgiving, we are getting out our Christmas trees. (No they are not holiday trees) How do you store your feather trees? We store ours in my work area over my sewing machine. Hung from the ceiling in a simple rack they take up no space and the branches are not damaged. Best, Edyth

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A sweet fairy tale movie full of music for all ages!

Dear Melanie, this am I was too ill to go out in the early cold, I have a bad chest thing this week, must be well enough tomorrow to watch little Elizabeth dance in Kerrvile production of the nutcracker without coughing contantly. I am on a round of prednisone and it is working. Principal players from san diego ballet company, it will be a lovely performance. she has had ballet since two years old!
Jack was out early to the yard sales and saw an oriental rug we had been waitng for, but deemed it too modern in colors and pattern to please us. We could only see a small part of it last night, the back side at that! It was not high for a large rug, and just the right size for our breakfast room. Leaving that, he went to several other yard sales with limited success, then hit some older things in one, and got two folk art wall shelves, and some old Christmas bead garlands, a little box full for 50 cents. he described the balls he left and I wish he'd gotten those too! Anyway the little beads in several strands tied together have little indents and then long beads alternating, very nice. They will go on one of our trees here in the house. They are pink and silver, rather than a red I might have preferred, but they are dear. He also got at the same old house, a framed Lord's Prayer in German. Daughter Beth grabbed that!
Tonight we watched "August Rush" which we got from net flix on your recomendation. Just precious!! Jack says to ask you for more movies to order! We enjoyed it so much, thank you. So that is the story of my day, I thought of you often with the ornaments you are just starting to collect, and the lovely movie tonight. Hope you will like the little box we mailed you. Love, E

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The South is gonna rise again.

Save your confederate dollars, all is not lost. I finally am better. yesterday marked 5 full weeks of the shingles. I still have very active rash and digestive upset, but I have gotten some sleep and am a thousand percent steadier and in much less discomfort. Thank you for get well wishes. I hope all friends will consider getting the vaccine for this when appropriate (after 60 years of age).
It is a bright fall day here and I plan to go to an art show for a little while this afternoon. Best, E

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Last week our antique study club, (Brass Bells) gathered at the home of Penny S my very good friend. I have to crow a little as Penny has furnished with many things she has purchased from Jack and me, and it is so good to see them in her magnificent log house. (Not a cabin, but a two story 44 ft long house) Jack made her corner cuboards, dining table, Tasha like chair, and many more things. She bought the old desk from our shop many years ago and this year bought my painting of a gentleman to go over. Penny is a consumate hostess and we had a great time learning about theorems and how to paint them. A day I never will forget, with friends of long standing, on a picture book farm with Penny. E

A Time to Keep

For those of us who loved all things Tasha, her birthday Aug 28th is time to have a quiet cup of tea and think a few minutes about her very special lifestyle. She celebrated "the little things" as in one of her favorite poems. The September October issue of Victoria Magazine on the stands now, has a small article about Tasha, I have not seen it yet but intend to get it. I wanted those of you who might be interested to know of it. Have a great week, Edyth

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Roll on

Here are some pictures in our antique mall booth, and of the little doll carriage we just repainted. Four pieces of the brown pottery had just left, it looked better before that!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

making jewelry

Working silver comes as naturally to me as sewing and shaping fabric does. Some of you may know that about 16 years ago Jack and I had a great time making silver and turquoise jewelry. I am planning to sell all the silver and tools and turquoise soon and decided to make a few last pieces before that is all gone. So today I cut and stamped a few small crosses. My hands do not like the little 2 pound sledge hammer I used to use, so it goes differently. But at least it goes! I love rowdy big chunky pieces, and great long strings of beads, much more the taste of a gypsy than that of a lady. so heavy Navajo styles speak to me.
We moved a few things into an antique mall booth last week. I may offer a little silver in there. Wish us luck! Edyth

Wedding bells in our back yard

We had a lovely little wedding for Granddaughter Sarah and Justin Cobb, whom we are happy to welcome into the family. 10 year old Elizabeth walked with her mother to the altar and then stood to the side. Our friend Penny did the house flowers from her own yard and they were a perfect grace note in the living room. A friend of Sarah's iced her cake, and another played a keyboard organ on our deck, and the whole wedding was simple and personal and perfect. Champagne punch and wedding cake were served in our dining room. Jillian Harris who will be our next bride when she marries grandson John, took professional quality pictures. I will share some of them here. E

Thursday, June 26, 2008

New pictures, many of the old cape

Hi, I have been having a fine time gathering photos to make slide shows here. Thanks to all of you who sent photos taken before we lost the cape. Thanks especially to Rosie and Melanie for the Christmas ones! Betsy, don't you have more? You can view the slide shows from the link at the right. Virginia your namesake doll is on the old doll one. I hope to add more photos by and by. Warmly, Edyth

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Lazy summer fruit pie

Hope all of you are having a great summer. I tried a lazy way to make a peach pie last evening. Our kitchen has lots of Tomatoes from our yard and of course yellow squash and a few cukes and also peaches from a local grower.
Here is a lazy cobbler pie:
4 TBS margarine (I used smart balance lite)
10 to 20 oz of sliced peaches
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar again
1/2 cup milk
Place margarine in baking dish and melt in oven. Heat peaches, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in saucepan and bring to a boil. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, 1/2 cup sugar, and cinnamon and milk togeher in mixing bowl and stir until smooth. Remove baking dish from oven when the margarine has melted. Add flour mixture, then peach mixture, do not stir. Bake 22 to 28 minutes at 375. Crust will rise to the top and brown. Wonderful served warm with ice cream!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

1860 Paper Doll

This sweet Mcloughlin paper doll was given to me in the 1950's by a lady in Hamilton Texas whose name was Katie. Last name began with E, perhaps Edmondson. It had come down in her family from a girl my friend Katie was named after. The doll is thought to have belonged to Katie Holland, a child whose heart never learned to keep a proper rythm and died in childhood. Little Katie must have enjoyed quiet toys. On the back of the doll is written in pencil the name "Helen".

I have kept the paper doll over 50 years, in an envelope. Now I am passing her to a much younger doll collecting friend to ensure safe keeping for another generation! In thinking of how to share this adorable image of the demure little paper doll, so rightly termed ephemera by collectors, I hit upon the idea of printing a book mark with the image. So now when I remember to put it in the books, I mail the book mark to people ordering my books.

A lovely hooked rug

Rug hooking friend Leah sent photos of her adaptation of my bed rug pattern (available from Barb Carroll at Woolley Fox as are all my rug patterns). Leah chose not to work the center of the design as she wanted to use it under a table and chairs. Her cats think she hooked it just for them! I love the deep colors in Leah's delightful piece, she has created a real treasure! Edyth

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Lassie come home

Jack and I went to a large Antique show in Round Top Texas last Wed, (180 miles east of us) and saw many friends there, and had a really nice time. We used to set up and show there. It became too hard for us many years back. I am sure if we had not had the fire we would still enjoy being in business, with the shop in our beautiful big white stucco barn building there beside our house. We both still enjoy the antiques.
In the antique show we found one of Jack's beautiful hutch tables he made back in the 80's, signed and dated of course. I wished we could buy it back! Jack said if things we have made are beginning to show up in antique shows, we must be getting old!
And in another booth was one of my own dolls, number 10 from 1983 signed and dated of course. The owner began to tell me who made the doll.. Edyth someone, not Edyth Head,.. and I said "me." She said Oh you are Edyth! The doll had been in a Houston estate of a long ago dealer friend Agnes Terry. We did bring her home.
In the 1980's I made and sold a number of cloth dolls. Several of the first ones looked like this blond doll. The second doll and two more were spoon heads, like "Old Spoon" pictured also. Then I went entirely to a round 4 part head with applied and quilted ears. Those looked much like the doll in the red dress. Then 36 big Belsnickle dolls with quilted beards. There were about 125 dolls in all. Last were 6 molded face Izzy looking dolls like this red dressed one, mentioned before, the difference being a better profile.

Last night we went to two art receptions and sat and listened to music until nearly nine. Outside under trees on a big deck, behind one of the galleries. We held hands and relaxed and enjoyed it so much. In Fredericksburg we have vacation all the time! Or maybe I am just feeling the joy of spring. Best to each of you, E

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

note to a sweet friend this morning

Dear Anita, How wonderful to hear about you and how things are going in your life. Thank you for writing to me! Glad you like the blog. I have ideas for more I want to put on it. I have been collecting shots of my rugs (many are gone, lost in the fire or sold since etc) Many of the remaining ones are darker in color from the smoking and cleaning. So good fresh photos like we used in our book will go on the blog as a slide show soon. I have also been collecting photos from friends of the old house interior, and I want to do a slide show of cape shots. Ditto some of the antique dolls. I have the 2 blogs, and enjoy hearing from people so much. I miss old friends!
We are well settled in a modern house in town, but looking always to downsize some and have a one story that we can treat with more warmth. This one has the high ceilings and white tile floors and so forth. We put the yard in after we bought it, this is our third spring here, and the yard pleases me. There were no trees at all, and of course what we have planted does not ever get the cozy old treed look. But we are working on it! Bird feeders and blooming things and healthy tomato plants are joy. When God put man and woman in a garden, He had me in mind! Have a great day, Edyth

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Stand up!

We are having a warm but dry spring, and our gamble to plant tomatoes early looks like it will be a winner. For the next week we are expecting highs in the eighties. Nothing is really more rewarding to me than watching living plants, so the busytime of spring is the height of joy. My overused hands do not allow me to actively garden anymore. But I water and putter.
Tending the house and yard and enjoying our hobbies and visiting friends and family, all fill out pleasant days around the basics in life like caring for Tyler, and for Jack's parents (90 and 96!) who live nearby. Escaping into hobbies like collecting, or handcrafts like knitting and quilting keep a happy balance for people and I believe have importance for that reason.
Just as everything in the garden wants attention right now, there is always the ongoing care of restoring the doll collection. I feel decidedly like the old woman in a shoe with so many dolls I don't know what to do! 80 plus dolls is quite a commitment. Only a handful of them have been bought in original clothing on original bodies in acceptable condition for display. Dolls in prime condition command a premium, when one can find them. So for the past two years now I have been working first to repaint heads and make new bodies for the 26 fire damaged dolls we saved, not to even mention clothes for them yet. And I have added over 50 more antique dolls, almost all of them very needy too! I worry at night that my hands and my time will not be sufficient to put them all in good order. Thank goodness for the help of friends who have made garments for some of them.
Now Jack is making some saddle type stands for them. We used coat hanger wire, in dowels on round wooden bases. A belt of velcro around the waist holds the doll tightly in place. Some are quite heavy, the Greiner doll pictured is 36 inches tall. we have made 4 now, need about 12 or 15 more! In case you are wondering, the little green house in the photo is our cat's door into the garage. Edyth

Friday, March 21, 2008

Happy Easter Dear Friends

For a number of years I enjoyed painting papier mache eggs to go around our old hen at Easter time. I did most of them in a take off of the Quimpere pottery style. The only ones left now are these two large ones. I think I need to revive the tradition and paint some more. Barb Carroll and a few close friends have been gifted with them in the past. Barb has a lovely collection of Quimpere pottery, as does my little mother in law. In it's earliest history this tin glazed earthenware of France paralleled the production of Delft, the 17th and 18th century pieces Jack and I have collected over the last 15 years or so. Folk art springs from a common well in us all! Edyth

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Quilter's clamps

Jack and I love early iron and had a huge collection of it before the cape burned, all of the iron was saved and cleaned, but little of it has found a place in our lives here in a modern new house. Still the old hand wrought pieces are decorative and graphic, and we find ways to show it here and there. Among the charming pieces we have had a long time are a set of quilter's clamps, one for each corner of the frame, when 4 long flat boards were used to make a collapsible frame. This was often set across several chair backs to hold it up while a group of quilters gathered around to finish it in perhaps a long day. The little hand made ones in the photo with some hooks belonged to our friend Felicia many years back. Felicia used them on her mantle to hold garlands of seasonal material, not only at Christmas when they held strands of cranberry garland. This was more interesting than a nail or hook in the mantle board. Yesterday, friend Nancy gave us a set that had been her grandmother's quilting clamps. These are Victorian in feeling, and mass produced as are most of the Christmas things we collect. I thought you might enjoy seeing these. Edyth
I heard from friend Helen, "Happy Easter to you two, and, as the old toast goes, "to all whom you love, to those who love you and to those who love those who love you." Just visited the website and spent a pleasant while reading it - like a visit, almost. Great clamps, by the way. My Grandmother Ashcraft had a quilting frame with clamps like that in her old West Texas farmhouse, except it was suspended from the ceiling by ropes, let down to work and rolled up other times. I have such vivid memories of that place and time, bleak and bare and a world of sand, but home to me."

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spring is here in Central Texas

Spring is here and Easter is almost! We have a few tomato plants in the garden and the daffodills have finished. Our part of the state is very very dry, but we are grateful to have been spared the floods north of us. Every day we want to spend some time out on the back deck just taking in the fine spring air! From that vantage point, unfortunately we can see a hundred things that need doing in the yard. Instead I have been enjoying a host of projects inside.
At the Boerne antique show a few weeks back we picked up 4 little dresses for some of the doll family. I am committed to getting as far along as possible dressing them this year. Pictured is a little wax Alice in her new dress. I made her fresh unders and the dress does very well just as it came to us. Friend JoAnne is searching among her treasures for just the right ribbon.
Today I finished a copy of a painting lost in our family some time back. It was tiny and dearly bought. Jack gave it to his mama and she loved it as much as I did, but lost it in her move to Fburg 6 years ago. I had taken a photo of it and recently found that and scanned it and have it now to paint from. My dolls love anything to do with fairy tales. I am sure the one we had, while a hundred years or more old, was not original, but rather a take off on an engraving by Gustave Dore. Here it is, finished except needing a warm colored varnish after it dries a few months.
So many people have emailed lately telling me of their projects, we are all busy as bees it seems! Have a great Day!! Edyth

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

We three plus one

Photos of Jack and me and Tyler with his drums. We all live here, plus Elizabeth, 9, who visits several times most weeks.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

A house full of Grandchildren

Happy New year. Let me brag and bask in the warmth of our grandparenting for a bit. Having the children out of school gives us time to enjoy them. I am delighted with the art teacher 9 year old great granddaughter Bailey Elizabeth has this year, that teacher opens so many doors for her. Some days she wants to paint and tells me which impressionist painters they are studying and something of their styles as she does her own thing on the breakfast table with my acrylic paint.

Lately in art she has been touching on weaving, so I have set up in the middle of our living room the big upright triangle loom that I made my own shawls on several years back. Together we have begun a shawl for her. We spoke of natural dyes like indigo and butternut and she knew of Cochineal, and she put in that the native Americans made red paint from it, and how to gather it. We visited a friend of mine so Elizabeth could sit at the big 8 harness McCumber loom there, and also see bobbin lace made on a lace pillow, as well as view a great first period Navaho Chief's rug on the wall. Of all we saw she was most in awe of the museum quality rug.

Elizabeth learned to rug hook at age 5. She and cousin Hailey both hook and knit. Now Elizabeth is learning to crochet also. I do not expect many finished projects from all this, but it is so heart warming to me to see them take on a love of fiber arts. Getting to spend time with them like this is pure gold! We are blessed with 6 grands and the one Great grand, all nearby. How many people get a chance to weave with a great grandmother??!! This is the best of the best. Edyth
eliz rughookeliz crochet

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