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

Monday, May 23, 2011

Woven treasures

When we lived in the red cape, we had a nice collection of early textiles, some important ones even, like a rare 18th century set of bed hangings! All those were lost, and I resisted gathering any more for a long long time. But one we use over the back of a settle in the breakfast room at the new house, is a woven coverlet with a border of birds like I used in my rug design "Ohio Coverlet". I could not help but purchase that one even though it has a lot of lost edges. The colors are bright and lovely. Then a few years later I saw a large blue and white one which I just NEEDED to hang over the stair rail in our entry way. This was followed last year by a simple indigo and white geometric Jack found at a local tag sale.

So we were collecting coverlets again after all! Five more have found their way to us. The red and white one with the center medallion is a small charmer, I wonder if it was made for a trundle or a child's bed. I date it about 1850, our latest perhaps. I welcome input and comments on all of these, I am not expert though I have bought and sold at least 50 over time.

The deep dramatic colors of the Pennsylvania type Brown and orange shot through with almost electric blue are gorgeous. It does have damage. Most of the rest are in nice condition with the exception of fringe loss. The Overshot in ochre and indigo and natural cream, is one of the nicest, and has a special fringe, I have seen this fringe before and do not know it's name.

A prize is the flower patterned one with folky birds in the border on all 4 sides, woven of deep indigo and natural. It was given to us by a friend of about 40 years. How can that be!! Surely we are not that old!

The red, green, and natural one will be fun to show off at Christmas, and I think could be used near pots of red geraniums for a spring arrangement.

Handwoven textiles have always been loved here. Last Christmas, our friend Penny gifted us with a precious tea towel she wove herself. I think she has not made many and I feel greatly honored! I want her to embroider her initials on it.

Great Granddaughter Elizabeth wove a wonderful red shawl in our living room for six weeks one winter. I count that one of the peaks of my life experiences. Later she won a blue ribbon at the county fair with that entry. From her early years she would stroke handwoven swatches used in our living room on tables as beverage coasters, she was drawn to these and seemed to know they are special. In the busy teen years she is far from these things, but there may yet come a time many years in the future when she will return to this joy of feeling the fibers in her hands as a new textile takes form. A young woman of 13 is so full of wonderful possibilities! She comes along behind me with so many of the same songs in her heart. Edyth

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I like small antiques related to sewing

Saturday we had a pleasant morning at yard sales. Jack bought a dear little Shaker sewing box with some interesting pieces inside. I want someone to tell me what these pieces were for. The three sticks are a bit like lace bobbins? If you know what the little winder is for please comment here and I will post it for others. The box is complete except for the pin cushion. That will be replaced with a poof of early fabric. E

Fraktur drawings

Our Antique study club had a great day Thursday, at a winery owned by friends in New Braunfels Tx. The food and beverages would have suited Martha Stewart.

For a program our hostess had the supplies for each of us to complete and paint a bird like the fraktur found in Virginia and Pennsylvania. We worked on water color paper which had been aged with a wash of walnut ink, which comes as crystals.

Jack drove bravely through a driving rain storm to take Penny and me to the meeting. It brought us an inch of precious rain. The weather did keep a lot of San Antonio members from the meeting. One who did make it through said her son texted her not to go! She texted him back that obedient women never make history! It was a special day to savor and remember. E

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Dear Dixie, How is the studio cleaning going for you? Hope you will enjoy the new machine!!?? My friend Eula used to say she had rather break in a new husband (she had 3) than break in a new sewing machine. Studio cleaning going on here also. I have managed to give a way a nice number of books, sorted them out 2 weeks back and have found homes for many with 2 friends. Can give some to the library for next year’s book sale.
I am deep in my paint these days. E

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Passionate Peafowl!

Good morning Gail! A gorgeous morning here, we have enough water to keep our yard, but around us the area is dry dry. We will be up to 95 today. Flowers and phone calls and cards and a dinner at a daughter’s tonight. Yes we left Ruby Lane, it is a good place to sell, we just never put enough time into keeping more listings going. I have tons I need to let go, much of it quite nice, but I no longer focus a lot of my time that way on selling and packing. Dixie Redmond has made us a nice blog we can sell on, when I get some listings there I will link here from our Red cape blog.

Glad you approve of the dear little table! It is beside my bed and is precious there! This am I topped it off with an orange red doll buggy from the Merritt museum auction, pretty paint and shapes. The bed hangings are Brunschwig and fils La Portuguese, a wild print containing peacock blue and strong rust reds. See this fabric pictured in an earlier post, March 12, showing doll quilts by the bed. As an example of how one can change a commercial fabric to suit your own eye, This fabric originally had a very prominent wide stripe of purple recurring all across it. Yard by yard, hour by hour, I seamed and trimmed and pressed that purple stipe out of it! And then sewed the hangings and window treatments.

Here is the paint can formula: Our peacock blue

neutral flat base 1 qt latex
blu 1 y 12.5
mag 19.5
wht 13.5
yel 18.5

Jack began with a flat coat of soft red latex. Then a coat of the above. Next a very thin black wash (flat black latex watered way down.) Then dabbed over it again with the peacock shade. Various rubbing and scraping to let the red show through a little on the edges as wear. Do all of this on sample boards to see what you do like and don’t.
As a variation of the above, one can use a milk chocolate very light brown latex as the base coat instead of red. Some painters might like crackle finish on the first coat of peacock color. Jack does not use those products, but it makes a pretty effect with the red showing under the crackle. Good luck with your project. Best, Edyth

Friday, May 6, 2011

What is so fair as a day in May...

May 8th marks six years since our farm home burned and our lives were changed so abruptly. So much I could say about that, but really I do not replay it again and again in my mind the way I did for the first few years. Over five years in our present house and yard have given me roots again. My favorite plants grow in this yard now and pleasant living grows nice memories in this house as we enjoy our family and our pass times. We think of the thousands of other victims of fires and floods and storms and know we are so lucky!

Jack has spent an unbelievable amount of time in his garage/work area, restoring so many things which firemen saved for us. Among the very last to be worked on is a rare and dear little table which stood in his bedroom at the farm house, and had the finish completely charred. This small 18th century New England piece was one of his pets, a graceful and unusual form with cabriole legs and a nice overhang and a small drawer. The blackened little table has been in his bedroom here these 5 1/2 years, waiting while we thought about what on earth to do to help it. Now the black surface has been painstakingly scraped away. Putting a coat of paint on something like this takes huge courage. Nothing can restore the old finish, it is gone forever, but the little table deserves to have another 250 years of existence.

We have chosen a strong turquoise blue, the blue green we remember on a spectacular small table once in the possession of our collector friends Austin and Virginia Smith of Kentucky. That one was a fabulous example of great original paint, in a day and time when so much furniture was being stripped by ignorant collectors. Virginia recounted how she asked a friend if she should strip off the paint and he replied with emphatic horror "my Gawd, I wouldn't even DUST it!" E

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