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

Friday, December 22, 2023

We pray for Peace and Good Will.


Thanksgiving in my house began with a gift of bittersweet from friends in Connecticut.

Gus in his favorite spot at Daughter Beth's and her husband Gary's house where we gathered for Thanksgiving.

Ten at the table for Thanksgiving.  Christmas already in the cupboard behind us.

My Granddaughter Sarah

At my house only the small tree this year, I could not manage the 9 ft one. Next year I will line up more help!

Under the tree are two books of Arabian Nights that belonged to my father when he was a young boy, over a hundred years back now.  My sister has kept them safe for years. Last year I bought library tape and helped them to a stronger state.

A little wax doll of about 1850. This type is called Mad Alice for their perky expression.
I made wings for her of cotton batting and old tinsel garland. and she is happy on the top of my tree.  Many of the ornaments on this tree are of batting and scrap, some old some new.

The sled was on the dining table for a little while and then the old goose took up there.  The goose is usually high on a shelf where I do not get to enjoy him enough. Time for a change.

Wishing a sweet Christmas to all who read here,  e

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Magdalena Briner Rugs for my Greiner Dolls

 Greiner dolls were made in Philadelphia about the same time period as Pennsylvania rug hooker Magdalena Briner Eby was making her very folky rugs, now highly valued and treasured by collectors. I decided to make some inspired by her rugs for my Greiner dolls. For the shapes I am using old tin Cookie cutters, also typical of Pennsylvania. I am attempting to copy her style but not her exact rugs. 

Horse rug above at top, hooked all with yarn, too solid to be pretty to me.  A better collection of yarn would solve this.

My sister sent me the dear chair, from a Houston estate.  
Making accessories for the antique doll family has always been something Jack and I have done. See the sweet little horn book he made long ago.

One of my full size chairs also has a hooked mat I made showing a horse.

I am having a good time at this, as I have loved Pennsylvania folk art for over 50 years.  I hooked part of the horse rug with yarn but it was too solid so I switched back to regular wool fabric strips. Yarn is so much easier on hands!   I can't do much rug hooking now, but the small pieces are marginally doable. 

Here is a third little rug, using an eagle cookie cutter belonging to my friend Dixie, it has a more faded pastel look with some soft blue. 

I have been guided in making the little rugs by this wonderful book about Magdalena's life and her rugs.

Soon it will be time to write "30" here.  There have been more than 500 posts in this journal.    e

Sunday, April 2, 2023

playing with rag dolls still

 Cloth dolls like Izannah Walker's dolls made in a cottage industry to sell, have as cousins one of a kind dolls made by and for family members. Both are very popular at present. I watch for another Izannah I might be able to add to my doll family, meanwhile enjoying other hand made cloth dolls.  

These three are thought to date 1885 to 1900. Their faces are oil painted cloth, flat without shaping.

Very worn rag dolls have a charm of their own, my friend Joy Harrington is writing an article for a future issue of Antique Doll Collector magazine titled "Dear Survivors."  in it the question is asked "What is worth keeping?"  For many of these humble cloth dolls are almost played to death, patched over and over.  Sometimes an old doll body will show evidence of having had a china head or other manufactured head. Once the fine head was broken, the doll was given a homemade head with a pencil drawn face of perhaps a painted one. The make do was a wonderful companion for a small child. Others were intended to be cloth dolls from their beginning.  

A well-known early cloth doll in the collection of Colonial Williamsburg was made about 1770 for Clarissa Fields, a little girl born blind. Clarissa named her doll Bangwell Putt. 
Having decided I would like to have a basketful of something similar,  I am putting together some cloth dolls myself.  
The one below in brown and blue is a current project.  The old body has been under my bed, headless for a long while, and having stains and patches all over.  The lower legs were replaced at some time back in her story.  The upper torso has been recovered and shows glue and patches that tell of multiple heads. One arm was leaking sawdust, I patched that.  Her beautiful old hands are dear.  Today I have given her a cloth head.  Who is she really? I think of my own long life, it has had such varied chapters,  at one time or another I have had many different roles.
 The doll in very old blue and white is done for now, the one in pink needs arms, maybe today and she will be done.   There are more bodies and clothing stored away, but I want to stop here and make bonnets. This doll in brown and blue would enjoy a shallow bonnet from the brown printed quilt fragment pictured with her in one image. How does one get sepia ink, would it not run? I may lightly add some facial features at some point. So far, I have ruined 3 heads trying with paint.  I want some different head shapes, lollipop for one at least.  At least one must have an apron.    


Friday, February 3, 2023

My 92nd birthday came in like a bear.

My birthday month, January, was full of challenges, among them the end of my old computer system.  I am working now to set up one a little differently and have found my way back to my blog today.  Texas is emerging from a dramatic three-day ice storm which has left many without power or heat still. My own home was touched only lightly because I had only light rain to freeze, but most of central Texas looked like this: 

Heavy ice will take a while to melt, but as for my yard, today I am thawed and have stepped outside a few minutes in shining sunlight.  I stay indoors mostly and am grateful for hobbies.
Added to the doll family here, a late 19th century cloth doll with oil painted face.  Homemade dolls like this have a charm and personality from being one of a kind, made one at a time.   

"Angel", has come to me from the collection of Dixie Redmond.
Angel badly wants clothing, there will be other pictures when she is dressed.

Angel has her name from the circle on the top of her head, the unusual seaming reminds me of a halo.

Her head and hands are oil painted, nicely done.  

   Thoughts and prayers for those friends in northern states facing an onslaught of deep cold.  e 

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