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, July 25, 2018

July's hot days in west central Texas

Friends have asked how I am  this summer,   Happy and grateful for each good day is my answer.   Outside my home I struggle to keep the green shady look of my dooryard garden. The front yard I do not show you as it is suffering from drought. I have lost three plants in the atrium this last week also. My atrium is watered only with buckets of water carried, it takes 6 buckets to water there.   Many areas near me have had some rains this summer, even other parts of our tiny city. But happenstance or bad luck has left me a long stretch with only a few sprinkles to tease.    The Mexican Oregano draws humming birds in the cooler parts of the day.  I am watering but have not yet had a single bloom from the Little Gem Magnolia which would be covered in lovely flowers in a normal year..

Inside thanks to the air conditioning I am comfortable and happy and busy. A few times a week I venture out to run errands in the heat and come back short of breath and red faced. So good to get back in the cool!   It is the height of peach season for us now, they are luscious and sweet and I eat as many each day as I can. I used to keep a big peach cobbler pie most of the months of July and August, but am just enjoying the fruit fresh this year.  So a trip to the country fruit stand is added to my routine.

My on line closet sale has been very successful and helped change out some of my storage. It has kept me busy making labels and wrapping packages and gathering boxes for a trip to the P O.  Sorting through doll clothes and parts is helping these things be better organized.  As ever, I am enjoying my doll family. Marley, the little English wooden has returned from a stay in Canada with top restoration experts to stabilize her finish.  She has found a place among other early wooden things and old pewter in my big northshore cupboard.  I find pleasure in the sight of her each time I pass by.


Tuesday, July 24, 2018

A Family of China Dolls

A happy box came in the mail from Ruby Lane shop Red Dog Dolls, Theresa sent me two new dolls. I have been wanting that little boy for about a year! The other in a brown dress is a nice sister to the Kloster Vielsdorf girl I already had in dark blue, shown together. The girls are both a scant 18 inches, the boy 13. That hen looks too close for comfort, hope it does not scare the little guy! The fabric of his wonderful jacket is under stress, I think I will slip a soft piece of cotton batiste under the jacket where the points of the shoulder head are, front and back. Of course his clothes are why I had to have him! His clothing is so striking as to approach the level of folk art.    e

Mostly Chinas, with a few others.  e

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy fourth of July

Time flies!  
Today I finally made the commitment to myself to gather and sort and re box a few  things in my  out of control storage. I want everything sorted and labeled. But I must begin with a few and work out from there. To that end I emptied drawers and boxes and began new piles with names on top of each stack like Doll unders or doll clothes or whites to make doll unders or lace for 18th century dolls and doll body fab and on and on.  One  rubber made bin got put away in the garage, labeled wood and wood carving tools. I do not plan to carve anything just now. Another is hoops and hooks and rug tape. I will add to it as I come across more here and there.  You get the idea what I am working with but could not imagine how much there is and how mixed up it is after moving many times and stirring through it. A box says string, another says bungies. Another holds cross stitch supplies and frames, another Paternayan yarn. Several big ones hold light bulbs. When these are gone what in the world will I do with my iron lamps and hand made shades?   There are more than 150 picture frames in there plus all the stuff you would expect, scales for weighing packages and empty boxes and packing supplies and on and on. 

My garage is an untamed wilderness. At this point I am committed to sorting doll clothes and fabrics for them. Whatever else gets done on the side as I go along is a bonus. But I can’t dress the dolls without this basic start.  

Here is Kathryn, a lovely 24 inch wooden doll carved by Kathy Patterson in the style of the mid 18th century woodens.

Kathryn is among the most beautiful dolls I own. I am trying different fabrics for her clothing.
I should explain that I enjoy making dolls and doll bodies and have made my own patterns dating back to newspapers cut up in the 1950's in all sizes.  Unfortunately I do not enjoy making doll clothing other than the simplest pieces.  Many of my old dolls have old clothing I have bought for them over the years.  I will not be able to dress my Kathryn as she should be, though I have nearly a dozen books on 18th century clothing, and many articles on them from doll mags plus a large computer image file. 

When my daughter Beth was born, I had made for her a Christening dress with 52 hand rolled tucks across the bodice and tiny hand stitches throughout.  When I made bed hangings for my bed in the old cape the hand stitched French seams were 90 inches long all over it.   Once I could sew.  I had a thimble on my finger from the age of five.  These things are not going to happen now.   

So Kathryn is out of luck on the best clothing. I have found some mid-19th century unders that she is going to wear and I have the finely quilted piece of old blue polished cotton that I hope will make a quilted petticoat for her.  I have made her a day cap and will make a few more. One gathered to frame her face is wanted.  Some sort of jacket or short gown will happen I hope!  Her apron will be a tiny handkerchief with bobbin lace made by my dear friend Eula.   

The set of 19th century unders is hand stitched so finely I had to use a magnifying glass to see the stitches.  The petticoat is cartridge pleated, on a band with a button, not the ties Kathryn would prefer. The split drawers are not proper for the doll, but I would not want to separate these three pieces made together long ago with so much love and care. So Kathryn shall wear  them.  We will not mention the early glass eyed papier mache doll off in a corner crying over all this, having lost her unders from over 150 years ago! 
Sad to do this.  wrong, wrong. My bad.

A little moppet I have made, dressed in fabric out of the sofa as discussed in earlier posts. 

My old one has been named Marley, that is an English name meaning pleasant wood.  Marley has been to the spa in Canada with David and Paul for a bit of restoration and stabilizing. Here is her picture there with their doll Elswyth.  Marley is on her way home to me now. I will be glad to have her back!  E

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