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

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Now is full summer time, lush green and vibrant. How blessed is the rain. Our area of West Central Texas is still much behind which means the deep pools of water below us have not recovered, but with the need to irrigate abating some,  we will be drawing less from those precious aquifers for a little while at least. Between here and the new Mexico border there have been good rains scattered over a wide area. 

In the 1950's and 60's I subscribed to "Mother Earth News" and learned to make my vegetable garden under a deep permanent mulch.  This morning with everything freshly washed I felt a kinship with the younger self of those times as I played in the garden, my hair in a braid again and my gardening gloves on.  I have a nice layer of Coastal Bermuda hay on the ground around the vegetables and added the trimmings from a culinary sage which was growing over a walkway, and then cut up last years' parsley plants to add to the mulch.  I add bits of plant matter on top continuously and it makes an herby sweet smelling cushion under foot.  It is time to cut back the basil and add it's fragrance to this.  Fruit and vegetable trimmings from the kitchen are buried here and there under a bit of top soil and then the mulch rolled back in place over them.   Composted manure will help too at the end of this growing season.  Next spring I will set in purchased blue bonnets in between the vegetable plants to add nitrogen to the soil which is needing that.  There are a few of the blue flowers this year, but they cannot self seed in the deep mulch. 

This is peach season for Fredericksburg, and I celebrate with large pies, not as big as in the past when I used a 19 inch long turkey pan for my peach pies, but still large enough to share with friends.  When I was in my 20's I thought it a great sin to buy piecrust and always made my own.  Now I let Pillsbury do them and I add cinnamon and nutmeg and sugar and bits of real butter on top of the crust and for a crowning touch a nice sprinkling of pecans.  No one complains.   This weekend I will make my third one for this summer.  I hope each of my friends is enjoying this beautiful season as much as I am.  e

In the ornamental part of the garden "Indigo Spires" has reached a height of 4 feet and a spread of about 7.

Friday, June 13, 2014

My own Green Eden

We have hot muggy weather here, blessed rain for us again last Monday.  I can’t tell you how good it is to have rain when we are so dry and dusty.  Most of my yard is looking very pretty, unfortunately the soil I paid to have brought in for the big vegetable bed is no good and the plants struggle and some die along. I am extremely disappointed in it, but will hang on for this growing season and try to pay to have it taken out and replaced in the fall.   Just in case, for plan "B" I am continuing to try to improve what I have.  
This neighborhood had a great block party a few houses down from me last Sunday night, 32 people came and brought food and chairs and cooked hamburgers and drank wine and visited for a bit over 3 hours!    This included Cheryl’s 93 year old neighbor whom she helped and another precious  neighbor on a walker, and no one was left out.  We are a tiny one block long strip of garden homes, with lots just 50 feet wide, zero clearance on one side and a small side yard  on the other. The side and back yards are completely closed in and private with no windows on the neighbor’s side.  I love my little courtyard!   Many of these tiny yards are beautifully done.


Every part of life is richer for friendships remembered.  There are plants in my garden brought by loving hands to share. The Little Gem Magnolia brought to us by Jan and Bill has already bloomed this summer.  Jan left us in the same 24 hours as my Jackie.  Beside my front door is a little cast iron pot on the right from Elizabeth Cates, a friend for more than 50 years of my life.  To the left is a cast iron rabbit given to me by Virginia.  e

A few special china dolls

The so called Greiner style china with her desirable lower eye lashes is a lovely addition to my doll family. The dress on her may be original, the bodice is lined, the fit exact, and the stiches are tiny ones made by hand. It is in shreds.  I have been to the thrift store to find a skirt made of black gauze, and found deep navy instead. From it I will cut patches to lay under the old fabric and help it hang together a little longer.  Wish me luck on this delicate venture!  I often shop the thrift store to find a needed piece of fabric by cutting up a used garment.


The tiny one is exquisite in her complete originality.  This little treasure is a small example of the china head used to mold my largest linen head doll over.   I would like to find a larger one I can buy, but may never be so fortunate.  Click on any picture to really see it well.

The blond boy is a common type of 1880 child made by A B G. I own a large perfect example kept at my daughter Beth's house. What is special about this one is his complete originality in a beautiful sailor suit. The little faded blue leather boots were his from his making. How nicely they harmonize with his blue trimmed suit and bright eyes. 

Most unusual and rarely found is this version of the Sophia Smith head.  I own two of them now, the other a more usual Kestner.  There is still another Sophia I am watching for, always the quest goes on..

I see from the counter that this blog has had more than 100,000 hits. I am humbled by this, thank you all. It left me feeling writer's block for a while after I noticed that, wondering what on earth I could write worth so many  visits.   So I continue to write about living with a garden and crafts and antiques and know that many people share this journey together.   Grateful for each day God gives me in these, my unexpected "bonus" years,  Edyth

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