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, February 24, 2015

A new little one is born

Ramsey has a lot of long dark hair and is much loved by all of us. We had a cake to celebrate her birthday. May she have a long and happy life.  Great Grandmother Edyth
The three youngest.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Thrift store Finds for the Week

The apple does not fall far from the tree. My mother used to get on a bus and ride to downtown Dallas to check out the goodwill store in the 1950's.   She bought a few nice old dolls there and many other things. Jack's parents would load their three children in an old station wagon and go to the big flea market in Chicago every Sunday morning.   Jack and I enjoyed the hunt always.  I still love to go junking and get out when the weather is fine as it has been this past week here.  Local antique dealers volunteer to work in the thrift shops so a lot of things never see the front of the store. And what does is usually appropriately priced or sometimes over. All the same there is enough to keep me entertained.

My thrift store finds for last week are on the table pictured. The redware jar is a repro but nice on my painting table for pencils and such. The Staffordshire is old and imperfect but was once part of Jack’s mother’s collection sold by us some years ago and now back from the thrift! 
Open stoneware jars like this are good to conceal a plastic flower pot.  The doll size spinning wheel will go to someone else's doll family, as my dolls already have one like it.  There was also an immense Irish wake table I could not handle, with gorgeous William and Mary style turnings on a huge gateleg table. I would guess a date of 1900, not period or I would have brought it home of course if I had to keep it in the kitchen sink till I found a new owner for it. 
The white flowering quince blooming outside my front door today is the same one I had at the farm and have moved twice.   e

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Early Spring brings Bunnies and Baby Goats.

Our Cashmere Goat kids arrived before the Easter bunnies each spring. They are the most charming and entertaining  pets imaginable when they are hand raised.  Penny gave us our first three does when we moved to the little farm. I have seen Jack with six adorable small kids at one time in his lap, on his shoulders and under an arm.  All that was required to have their trust was to sit on the ground each day near where their mother's were being fed, and the little ones would come to climb in your lap and be petted and played with. Here are some pictures of Jack and the goats. I wish I had known how to take home videos then!

  Cashmeres are not dirty like sheep. They are lovely pink and white. If they get in mud it soon dries and falls away from their hair.

Goats need lots of petting. Even our cashmere billy, Banner, was gentle and good natured.  The smell of a billy is something else.  We did not have him in the early years but rather hauled the does to a breeder to be put with prize winning sires.

Maggie was born in the ice of February and was the smaller of twins, drawn up with the cold. Her mother accepted her larger brother but would not have Maggie. I bottled her and she readily took to the house, as clean as any domestic pet and eating cereal from a blue Staffordshire dish.  She wanted always to be in our laps or right with us. and preferred our company all of her long life to that of the other goats. Here is Jack with Maggie tucked casually under his arm while talking on the phone.
 Maggie was exquisitely beautiful to me. She stayed as close to us as possible but had to be set outside at intervals like a puppy, and was made to sleep in a box by herself at night where she complained very loudly. I have had many lovely dogs and cats and a great many horses, but Maggie was my favorite pet above all. 

One wonderful spring we had six kids! Armloads of love. Who needs bunnies?  e

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

That beautiful printed fabric in my bedroom

I was researching Brunswig and Fils fabric for an internet inquiry tonight when I came across a reference to La Portugaise,  the pattern in my bedroom.  I remembered the first time I ever saw it!  (late 1980’s)  When I saw La Portugaise remnants in Hancock’s years ago I went wild over it and Jack and I drove to 5 different Hancock’s and I bought every piece of it we found.   I wanted to wrap myself in it, eat it, sew everything about my room with it.  I get that kind of enthusiasm about a textile when it hits the right chord in me.  There was a strong stripe of purple in between the major motifs.  I made curtains and bed hangings of it, carefully stitching out the bold purple stripe I could not abide, leaving me with great rusts and coral reds and peach with peacock and blue greens.   Love it yet and it is on my bed this very minute.   Fortunately I had traded it all after a few years  to friend Penny who used it some eight or ten years and then brought it  back to me after the house fire, which is how it was saved.   At the time I bought mine in many many pieces for about $3. a yard, retail on it was about $165.    Looking for a bit of it tonight on the web, I came on the above link, telling me that it was used by Sister Parish in my cousin Brooke Astor’s drawing room.    Isn’t that fun?  By all accounts she was a magnificent woman. Wish I could have known her.    e
Here is some of the information contained in the link above:
"La Portugaise" is one of the iconic prints of the Brunschwig & Fils collection and has enjoyed a rich history.  It was notably used by Sister Parish in the original drawing room of Brooke Astor's home in New York City.  Alfred Hatley remodeled the room into a library with oxblood lacquered walls and used the same fabric.  That design is known as one of the most famous rooms in the history of American interior design.  A photograph of that famous room from 1967 was used in a Spring 2013 Brunschwig & Fils print ad.  The company currently markets iconic fabrics as designs that never go out of style. 
 "La Portugaise" is associated with other famous interior designers.  Both Billy Baldwin and Mark Hampton used it in their personal homes in Nantucket and the Hamptons.  It's also known as a favorite of Keith Irvine and Jeffrey Bilhuber.
The fabric design is currently available from Brunschwig & Fils "To the Trade" through designers and architects.  The yardage listed is 100% cotton and retails for $220 per yard, SKU BR-70110 (plus color code for current colors).  There is also a cotton linen blend for $336 retail. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

My red cape in the snow

Every 10 years or so we get snow.  You can see I have been going through old photos lately.
The snow came before I had taken the corn stalks down.

The back of the cape

 The wooden swing was a favorite place to sit. We were in lovely woods.

This was a splendid small art studio, complete with a full bath and simple kitchen. We lived in this tiny building while the Cape was under construction for three hard years.
The back door was more beautiful than the front one to me.

Newly planted shrubs show the cape was barely finished. 
Jack with his little black cat Cleo, for 14 years his faithful shadow.

An old wagon out in front

It snowed once when we lived on the little Cherry Road Farm.

I think it was about 1986. I had had a very disappointing day and had trudged afoot into town to a long planned first meeting of what I hoped would be a rug hooking group I was offering to teach free and give the supplies, but it did not start well with 13 inches of snow and it never got much better!  When I finally made it home, Jack had made a snow bear in the yard for me, as I have always said Teddy bears make me smile. We went sledding down from Windcrest hill, with no traffic or we would have been history as we had no control on such a slope. We had as much fun as children together.
You can see that much was already melting when he made the bear.


This was taken when the 13 inches was fresh the first day.

 The ice made daggers four feet long! 

Snow could not last long for us.    e

Monday, February 9, 2015

Thank you to Early American Life Magazine

For a generous, beautiful, flattering article celebrating our more than 35 year association.   Thanks to Tess and Jeanmarie and Kirk and Linda and all who worked to include my humble nest in the April 2015 issue.  When Jeanmarie said they wanted to "do" this house I asked are you sure?  Her reply went something like this: "So many collectors are hitting the same issue of downsizing and a lot of readers will be interested to see how you have done it."  I do not remember the words exactly, but the meaning is there. 

I am grateful to have around me a collection that tells the story of our years together when Jack and I had great adventures with a small out of the way antique shop for thirty years.  The friendships made and the wild tales of great finds shared are all part of the story.   e

February days and a Tasha party

Yesterday I cut the first broccoli from my  yard. The heads are not as large as commercial ones but the flavor right out of the garden and into the steamer is the finest.  Our weather here yesterday reached a high of 77, and today reached 79.  I read of the deep snow so many friends are enduring in Maine and Massachusetts and just think I could not survive it. 

Last evening there was a cozy dinner for six at Penny's home. You can see how nicely the deer rug went up on a wall in the dinning room. 

A hanging cupboard is waiting for blue and white china.

This morning there was a meeting/party for the Brass Belles, an antique study club I belong to. We drive considerable distances and do not meet often now, so each is special.  Our hostess chose Tasha and hearts as a theme. Some really special Tasha Tudor collectables showed up for show and tell. Particularly interesting to me were two little Sparrow Post items, hand painted and each having its own tiny envelope. Then we enjoyed a beautiful luncheon and lingered long visiting. Our hostess had a video on the TV running silently in the back ground showing her trip to the TT museum. All in all a special day to remember with some friends, some of whom I have enjoyed for up to forty years. 
I know we are supposed to be grown ups but sometimes we just play. Tasha and her art bring that out in so many folks.

 Late winter finds the house combining a few Christmas things not put away with Valentines and hearts throughout.

 A redware punch bowl is beautiful in the painted dry sink.


I showed a heart-in-hand cutter and a simple heart one that daughter Beth and her husband Gary made in the 1990's.  I also took a little blond doll "Sally Tudor" made from a kit which was authorized by Tasha in the 1980's.  e

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Antique Dolls in an old House

   Used just as accents in a few of the rooms, the dolls were part of a general collection of old furnishings in the Red Cape.  They would have struck a wrong note if they had been everywhere you looked.   Instead, other than the few mentioned, the doll collection which numbered a bit over 100 plus some nice bears were shown off in an upstairs bedroom where almost all were lost in the fire of 2005 when lightening hit our beloved cape.
Cassie on the left was one of my two favorite dolls. She was about 31 inches tall with an untouched complexion and a great original body. Her beautiful painted brown eyes and long ropey curls were outstanding, I have never seen another just like her.   On the other side of the highboy which Jack made, stood Phillip a 38 inch so called Milliners doll with a leather body and wooden limbs. His untouched head shows no retouch and little wear, truly a choice papier mache doll. Both of these dolls are German made.
Phillip is shown above with a smaller Milliner's doll and Joe Boy, a flirty eyed boy made by Andreas Voit about 1840.  Joe boy is still with me but repainted now as he came out of the burned house charcoal soot colored.

This 32 inch doll is wearing a precious red dress and jacket which must have belonged to a little boy about the time of the American civil war. She is holding a Motschmann style baby named "Janie" for the Pennsylvania dealer I bought her from. Janie wears original clothing including the best printed sheer blue wool dress I have ever had.  Fine feathers do make the bird!  The clothing lost in that fire is irreplaceable as well as the dolls.

The largest Patsy doll, Patsy Lou above, was my childhood doll. I have a picture of us together when I was about four.  The great toile bed hangings were period and from the collection of Clark Garrett.  It is a sad thing that they were lost in my care. They adorned the only complete antique pencil post bed we were ever able to find and purchase, it came from a show in Farmington CT.

A wonderful early crib quilt is behind these two dolls shown on a tall blanket chest from Maine.

Beautiful old textiles were and are again such an enjoyable complement to my doll collection.

The dress on the standing doll is a child's dress of about 1835.  The doll in the carriage wears a baby dress of about 1845 from the Musselman collection. 
Here is Caroline, the other of my two favorite dolls. I bought her as just a great 10 inch tall papier mache shoulder head. The little dashes under her painted brown eyes indicate to me that she was an early Mueller.   With the body I made for her she stood 36 inches tall and wore a wonderful red printed cotton child's dress. 

The one time boy child's wonderful red dress is shown above without the jacket. Notice the small quilts on the back of the Doll's settle. Jack made their settle, tea table and little candle stand.

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