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

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Linens for a Doll's Bed

These pictures are from a few years back. As this year is closing I am consolidating my huge photo files a little and enjoying many as I go through them.  This small rope bed has a pretty shape and was fun to dress up. I made a little pad of reproduction fabric to serve as a mattress tick, and used ecru linen for a bolster cover trimmed in a scrap of tatting.

After trying several combinations from both old and new fabrics, I sewed the little quilt featuring one small old square in nice brown and blue combinations. This little project was a sweet size to hand quilt and went together quickly in two afternoons. The doll size blue chest of drawers in its original paint is a treasure Jackie found for me at the Boerne Antique show one year.   A collection is almost an album of memories, fully as much as my big photo file is.

The doll was made by Elaine, the small rug by her mother Martha, both sweet gifts to me. e

Thursday, December 19, 2013

For Cathy, Simple is so often Sweetest.

A rug hooker wrote from Australia: 

hi Edyth
I have recently started rug hooking and love it .  I was looking through your blog and noticed you put a quilting hoop on your work - doesn't this squash the wool??  I would love your help on this as my quilting hoop isn't large enough to cover the whole outside of my pattern.  And there are no rug hooking shops anywhere in Australia!! 

I also want to say I downloaded your book and absolutely love it - thank you for your inspiration.

Have a wonderful Christmas - 

Blessings Leigh

My answer to her: 
Hi Leigh, I use a 14 inch quilter's hoop as my preferred hooking frame after having tried many other things over the years. Note 14 inch not 12.  This hoop is fairly sturdy, not a light weight one.  The trick to make it large enough to go over a thick thing like our hooked rugs, is to use a slightly longer bolt in it. A bolt very much longer will not go in it because of the curve of the hoop, but you can use a bolt 1 inch longer than usually comes with it. In my case it is a 5 1/2 inch bolt instead of a 4 1/2 inch one. I know your measurements are different from ours, but the idea is to get a slightly longer bolt.  

I do not think the hoop hurts any of my hooked passages at all.   Best wishes, Edyth

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas decorations with another friend

The pictures of these vignettes do not begin to suggest the beautiful rooms surrounding them.  They do show exceptional combinations and placement of  antique and vintage items for seasonal pleasure.  See for example the nautical group combining sea shells and shiny Christmas balls.   The lady of the house is a superb decorator, adept at keeping everything nostalgic and understated.  Maximum use is made of table top trees. The one with little clusters of stone grapes  beside a marvelous collection of stone fruit is  outstanding.  Thank you Barbara for letting me share these  here. Be sure to click on each picture to see it larger.    edyth


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas at my house lasts a long time

I have two trees up this year and will leave them up some time. I enjoy the decorations from years back, three of these were on my brother's first tree 71 years ago. Some of the oldest ornaments I have bought from ebay a few years ago remembering the ones like them from my grandmother Minnie.  The CD player has lots of Christmas music.  A favorite disc is Manheim Steamroller's Christmas Extraordinaire.
My rug hooking nest on the couch is right in under the edge of the taller tree.   The sweetly faded but still whole coverlet under the tree is almost a cranberry pink. I found it at a local garage sale on the ground for almost nothing. Washed and cared for now it has a starring roll each Christmas. So our fortunes can change even when we are brought very low!

A little greenery and fruit say enough about the season on these old cupboards already very busy.  Some years I have used a lot more. I am just feeling my way in this smaller new house.  e

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Christmas party with friends

The whole Texas Hill country seems to fill with lights and music and celebration for this month.  A crèche is on our town square, carols are sung everywhere in German and English and Spanish, in the churches with great musical offerings and in the public places also. Merry Christmas is written on banners across our Main Street.   In homes there are so many happy gatherings.  Here are some pictures to share, I took 72 today, cannot put them all in. 
  Our hostess for this party decorates with a large collection of Santa's, stone fruit, and old leather books, with small antlers here and there among greenery, pine cones and old silver pieces.  The inclusion of small old oil paintings in among the vignettes adds so much!  It has taken years of focus to achieve this.  The mix varies a bit each Christmas, as new things are added, or family changes like the coming of several grand children make fragile glass ornaments stay in their boxes, while more cotton ornaments are featured.  Of course the arrangements are different every time. Enjoy, Edyth




Served in the flutes with 3 cranberries in the bottom of each, was a nice mixture of Pomegranate soda, ginger ale and a splash of champagne.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

For Cathy, your second project

Dear Cathy,  Your first little mat is wonderful!  I am so glad you have found joy in this, I totally loved it when I could do it for hours on end.  Now you are ready to move to the next step.  For a second project, it may be best to choose one of a modest size rather than a huge one. Just as a knitter finds a comfortable rhythm  after a time, so do rug hookers loosen up and achieve a more even style.  So your first pieces absorb all of that change and by the time you start a large one, it will all look even, instead of part of it being too tight and possibly lumpy. 

For a better hook,  I believe the right one is a Hartman medium Size 5 mm.  

You might also order 2 yds  of bleached linen rug backing.  It will be there ready when you are to draw a new rug.  Since you are an artist in your own right, You will soon be drawing your own rugs. 

 If you want to order one of my designs, look at Barb Carroll’s  woolley fox website.  A lot of time and wool and money go into a big one, hundreds of hours and hundreds of dollar’s if you buy high quality hooking wool to blend with your rummage wool  Choose something you really like. 

I know you are gathering rummage wool and plan to dye some. There is a big section in my book on easy dying. Do not use common household dye.  Dying enough colors to give you a complete palette takes a long time, but yields a ton of wool. You and Cindy can share.  Use only 100% wool as blends do not take the dye right.  When you are buying rummage wool, any light to medium color is great.  All of my reds are dyed over tan or medium beige, which is easy wool to find.
  Do not pass over gray wool because you don’t need any more gray! You can over dye gray or beige or light tan with blue to get nice greyed down blues. And also over gray, use green dye to get nice soft greens. You do not have to start with white wool, for anything but pastel yellows which I seldom need.   Light yellow and light pink or any pastel wool can be over dyed to get richer colors suitable for the rugs I like.

I look forward to seeing you start your second project!  Keep me posted. e

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Dolling day with Jan Conwell

Yesterday Jan Conwell came for a visit. We do not live really close so I always appreciate it when she drives to see me.  It was a simply beautiful fall day.   Jan and I put up my two Christmas trees in the living room. I will straighten them out some and they will be ready for ornaments.  She also helped me put up some other stuff. I do not get on ladders or even step stools when I am alone here.   We ate downtown at my favorite sandwich shop.   
I enjoyed seeing all the dolls in progress she brought. Most do not have their body suits on yet. Some will have a bit more antiqueing or aging.  But the lovely little heads Jan has sculpted are dear.  One will live with me in a few weeks. 
Three that came are not Izannah types. Jan makes artist dolls of an amazing variety, some sweet like the lovely black child pictured and some off the wall like her doll "Good Bones" which can be found on Jan's blog. Jan not only thinks out of the box, I don't think she has ever been in a box to start with!.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Christmas Past

Our big house in Stoneridge decorated so nicely for Christmas.  Click on links to go look. I am thinking of Christmas things here now, and wondering how this will go for me. This little house has so much in it, more might make it visually too crowded if I put in a lot of greenery and fruit and such. . I will give it a try, starting with one small tree.




Monday, November 11, 2013

Cooler weather for the garden now


Yesterday I gardened till I can hardly move!  It will get better after a hot bath. Gardening is so good for my soul!  I have a hard time reaching the ground, so I purchased 3 large feeders for livestock to use as raised beds, and then Gary put holes in them for drainage. I have a layer of Styrofoam in the bottom then a fiberglass screen then garden soil.  As I take out summer pot plants I am putting the soil from them in the raised beds, then will add as needed.   These big raised beds are not pretty.  They will be a bit more pleasing with growing things to focus on. 

Most of the pot plants are being discarded, the remaining ones will be a significant batch to care for in the atrium and on the sun porch.  Five big pots of white geraniums are too large to bring in, they will have to shelter in place as the saying is.  

Our first killing frost is expected on Tues night and another on Wed night. I will plant on Thursday and hope to get seedlings up and going. I am a full 6 weeks too late for this.  I would not plant before my trip east because I did not want friends and family to have to take care of more here. Then I came home under par and not inclined to work outside at all.  Excuses do not placate mother nature. 
 Foods from the winter garden are so precious. Going in as seeds are beets, spinach, lettuce and snow peas. I set out a few broccoli plants. Still bearing are two large tomato plants full of little cherry tomatoes. I will cover them and try to save them from frost another week or so.   

 A sweet neighbor couple  brought me three gorgeous egg plants from their garden yesterday.  I think I will paint them before they get cooked. Beth will make eggplant parmesan  casserole next week for us all.  She feeds Cheryl and Linda and me as well as herself and Gary several nights a week. Linda is staying with them while she is in transition, moving here and doing over a little place to live in.  

I am starting to do the fall trimming of perennials.  My front yard planting, put in in May, has really done well.  It is a low water needs area, graveled and mulched and having a seating group in the center.  The phlox and blue salvia and many clumps of lantana have bloomed gloriously!  Almost too much going on visually.  A man who helps here with the yard will come next week and do a lot of the heavy trimming I hope.   He will be very welcome!  e


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