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, November 9, 2020

Mary Mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow?


Children do not learn nursery rhymes anymore.  My garden grows very well!  It is nip and tuck now dodging the first killing frost, the average date for which is November 10th.  The trees are dropping leaves, not a lot of color here because of drought.  But afternoons are bright and in the 70's.

Sugar snap peas are starting to climb, no blooms yet. That bare spot holds newly planted beet seeds. Boxes beyond hold young lettuce and spinach and then garlic chives.  

I prepared this box today and planted it with beets also.  I had some eggs that had gone past their date so I broke them and added them and other kitchen scraps to the soil as I was filling the container. The top layer is just miracle gro potting soil, which does well sprouting tiny seeds.  How happy the roots should be when they reach the enriched layer below. 

There are two large pots with tomato plants that were started late summer from cuttings, and they are full of tomatoes. These big pots will easily move inside with me to the sun porch at the threat of frost.

Another view of these second season tomatoes by the rain barrel..

These have been the three big ones, over my head now, still have a hundred little tomatoes that will not ripen by frost. I will blanket them a few times to hold off the cold as long as I can! Many of the ornamental bushes in my yard will stay green through the winter, like holly with berries for the birds, and my much loved magnolia tree, Little Gem.  My small yard is so much pleasure now that I am mostly homebound due to covid.  Penny called today to say she is planting strawberries in hanging baskets today.  Maybe next year I will try that.  e

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Staying at home these days.

 I continue to enjoy my container garden these pretty fall days.  I hope to paint more soon. But lately I have been sewing for some of my early dolls.   This one is likely from the last quarter of the 18th century.

  Many years ago in a pile of scraps at Brimfield, an early brown and white print fragment caught my eye and came home with me for $7. One sleeve was torn away from the funny short garment and the brown dye had eaten many holes in the fabric, leaving it fragile as a cobweb. Now I know it was a short gown, an unlined everyday cotton garment from maybe 1800 It had a charming pleated fan tail in the back. I have finally made a jacket or short gown for one of my woodens. Phoebe is pleased enough with it, though she would have liked it to be a little snugger in the waist. Hooks and eyes close it in the front.

A perfect early sampler used for her apron is softly folded over a draw string and not pressed, out of respect for this nice old textile.

Picture taken before hooks and eyes added.

Phoebe is serious about her spinning.

The old day cap she wears will be replaced with a plainer one by and by.

The blue polished cotton was once the lining of a melting silk quilt.

The dolls are pleasant company but I also enjoy friends who visit in my yard, The weather here still allows that. Stay safe, edyth

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Eagle Rug again


There was an earlier version of my Eagle rug lost in the 2005 house fire. This morning I have taken some pictures of the rug I hooked to replace it.  I like it better without the distracting border.  This also made it a little smaller.  I bound the hem on the back with plaid wool.  The rug shows a bit of fading and wear, as it serves on the floor in front of a blue corner cupboard in my bedroom.  For safety’s sake, none of my hooked rugs is now in a walkway. I miss the ones rolled quietly away.

   My color choices are still consistent.  You can see this in a shawl on my big loom at present.  

Here is a look at home school for three little great grands, assisted by Bailey their older sister. Bailey is helping Sarah their mother for a few days, getting school off to a nice beginning for the new semester.  


Gus helps too.     Note: comments here have been sweet to get from many of you, but now they are hidden, because of a torrent of very inappropriate and nasty spam which has found my blog.   stay safe, God bless, e

Saturday, July 25, 2020

We called it a Victory Garden when I was a little girl.

When I was a child during World war 2,  my step father taught me the pleasure of vegetable gardening.  That has not left me, though my ability to do much now is diminished.  Happily I saw a YouTube clip featuring a different type of inexpensive raised beds and I think they will work for me now.  Accordingly I am searching for another bench or two sturdy small outdoor tables to raise a couple more Rubbermaid storage bins up to a height that I can tend well.  My daughter Beth furnished one this morning and you can see how that works.  They will not be bad looking once there are green things filling them and flowing over the sides.

There are holes drilled for drainage. It takes a lot of soil to fill these! A winter garden planted this fall will be snow peas, broccoli, beets, spinach and lettuce.

My cherry tomatoes have been loaded, currently all picked. They will be quiet till cooler nights return, these do not set fruit till nights are below 70 degrees.

There is a rain barrel in the back.

 There are three sitting areas in the yard, one in the front yard has chairs and tables and another big wooden swing. in our current covid time,  my only company happens outside in the yard.  Below is Granddaughter Hailey in the front yard last week.  Grandkids are the greatest!

A tip cut from one of the tomato plants this morning will make one to plant for fall tomatoes as soon as little roots grow in the water.  A farmer is always thinking about the next crop.   e

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Love of Wool is a Rabbit Hole

One friend I have enjoyed many years went all the way down this rabbit hole.   She and her husband bought a small ranch so she could raise her own fine hair goats and fine wool sheep. She showed her fleece and her spun yarn and her knitted pieces in the county fair and won awards over many men who had generations of experience producing mohair and wool.  A great yarn shop followed and for some years was a gathering place in the Texas Hill Country for spinners, knitters. rug hookers  and more, of course I am referring to Stonehill of Fredericksburg Texas.  Long ago closed now but still missed.
It was at Stonehill I had a chance to taste of the weaver's joy just a little bit.  As a rug hooker  I often said in my next life I hoped to be a weaver.  I consider Rug hooking, a form of free hand weaving, creating a beautiful surface without linear constraints.  It is akin to other off the loom weaving.
Any and all of the textile crafts, spinning, dying, knitting, weaving, quilting and of course rug hooking have always appealed to me.  Any can be a life time pursuit.   I learned to crochet when I was 16, making sweaters and caps and vests and purses all of wool yarn, I have never been interested in crocheting with string.    
From Stonehill I bought yarn and borrowed a simple triangle loom and wove several shawls.  I am trying to see if I can do that again.  I ordered more than a dozen skeins of beautiful colors but when they came yesterday I was disappointed that over half of the yarn is much finer than I anticipated.  I do have the option to return it right away, but I will try one skein to see if I can weave with two strands enjoyably or not.  I have collected two groups of color, one purple and one bittersweet.  The roving you see needs to become lumpy art yarn, which may or may not happen.  I have a number of skeins left over from past projects.

In the center of this picture you can see the commercially woven plaid I am inspired to take off from.

I may remove the camel colored one or keep it as a highlight.

With these strange days of confinement because of covid, I am entertaining myself with different textile projects.  One is to finish a hooked rug of the Texas flag, to be used as a wall hanging for my great grandson who loves history.    Last evening I finished dressing a tiny wax faced doll,  English about 1840.  This type of doll is called a Mad Alice!  

 Just about every level surface in my house has a project in progress on it.    Stay safe, e

Thursday, June 18, 2020

June is peach time in the Texas Hill Country.

I visit my favorite peach stand a little way out in the country about twice a week, keeping a tray full of ripening peaches and tomatoes in my kitchen for as long as possible.  Other than going to that open air stand where all of us are wearing masks, and a few drive though window transactions, I do not leave home at all these weeks.  Happily I have many interests and enjoy my home and yard.  Company here means sitting outside, keeping a distance, everyone bringing their own cool drinks.   I love this!  My shady yard has three seating areas and they are all comfortable.
My friend Penny came by today with this poor little rescue bear and said she was throwing him away. Penny has moved into a tiny house so it is a life change. I think there is a basket somewhere here that he can sit in and look out of. With his roughly recovered feet, leaking straw, loss of embroidery and loosely hanging ear my snobbish little Steiffs want nothing to do with this bear. But who could turn him away? Not me. I have bears because they make me smile and this elderly bear can still do that. I am about to the stage where I too need a basket to peer out of in this wild time.

I have painted some this spring and that is always absorbing. I enjoy my many dolls and sew for them a bit. Living with the collection that Jackie and I put together over many years is pleasure in itself.    

 But something else has caught my attention lately.  As posted here back in January, my sister went to the estate sale of a collector friend in Houston and one of the treasures Sis bought for me there was some handspun  wool, dark natural in color and with interesting texture.  These beautiful skeins  have brought back how much I love the feel of wool in my hands.   I kept feeling of them and admiring them and finally last week I bought a simple upright loom like one I used many years ago. At one time I wove several shawls on a 7 foot triangle loom borrowed from Dorothy P.   The weaving is literally hands in, over, under, fingers in the wool, as you go. There is no mechanical heddle to lift the sheds.  I want to experiment with a very textured nubby blend of yarns and have ordered a rainbow of yarn on line. 

 Placing a large loom out of the main walkways is not too easy in a small home.  My son Carl modified a big painting easel (of which I have far too many!) to hold the heavy loom.

  Above see the big brown skeins that caused all this!

This blue plaid shawl is one I wove years ago, a very conventional pattern in lovely Shetland wool.

My great granddaughter weaving at age 9 in what was then my living room. Bailey is 22 now, not many young women can say they learned to weave from a great grandmother.   We have all spoken so many times about how working on textiles has been a comfort to women forever.  We stitch so much into our needlework.  Turning tears and trials into beauty is the way I think of it. Our lives are sunshine and shadow, and worth every minute of it. There are house fires and death and separation and then there are grandchildren!  And gardens and lasting friendships.   I am  grateful for a long life.
Stay safe my friends.  e

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