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.

For more than sixty years I have studied, collected, repaired, and bought and sold antique dolls. They have been back ground music in my life at every stage, sometimes louder, sometimes subdued, but always there with me. To see only the posts about dolls on this blog, click the banner on the right titled Dolls for My Red Cape. Keep clicking “Older Posts” to see more. Some of the posts featuring rug hooking are gathered under the banner For Cathy. From time to time items are offered for sale under the banner “O’Neill’s Antiques” which was our shop name for many years. ~Edyth O’Neill

Friday, April 20, 2018

Early English wooden doll about 1790

My little doll just came. She was well double boxed and impressively cushioned. I found her last week on ebay.  I love her in person so much more! Her clothing is just a few whisps but I love them too! Her hair is gone but she has the little wig cap where it used to be. The new doll is very friendly with the Mad Alice wax doll of a later time, I knew they would like to be together. Alice has been trying on some nice old unders from my stash. What shall I name these girls? A new doll makes such a happy day. I have never had an old wooden like this, several tuck comb German dolls, but no early English ones. Now I want more! Oh dear.

 Mad Alice is a type of early English wax doll the next generation down from the carved English woodens.
Alice has the daffy expression characteristic of her kind. She was just a forlorn little head when I  got her a week ago, now she is a doll again and hoping for clothing.  e

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Die Kunstler Show and sale.

It was an interesting day here, this was the day our art club had its first outdoor show and sale under one of the Marktplatz Park pavilions.  We had good attendance with great support from the city and the local paper that put our story on the very front page. A man from the city hung our  large banner,  visible from Main street saying art show here today. I was pleased at how many people walked through and there were many sales.

  A group of the members put up a whole row of show panels 7 feet tall at one end, maybe 40 or 50 feet wide, without a lot of Zig to the Zag that holds them upright. The whole thing blew down about 3:45, paintings and all!  At least 50 paintings were hanging on it when that wall went down!  Those artists mostly gave up and left after gathering all their things.  A few had broken frames.  I was at the other end, just on a big Picnic table with a fabric cover on it, and my biggest painting  blew down earlier, so I laid all my paintings flat on the table, they did not look as good by a long shot as they did on the table easels I had for them but they stayed put.   When the wind gusts had come through earlier in the day, and my own large one went down, you could hear loud bangs all around the pavilion, Bang! Bang,  as paintings fell here and there, many times. The first was enough for me, I laid mine right down.  We will all plan a bit differently next year. March is a windy time.

Kathy is a photographer as well as a painter.

 Jack and I used to do big outdoor antique shows, even as far away as Massachusetts, so I know about wind.  He would look for a place with a pole or tree of some kind and tie his biggest cupboards to that.  We were showing in a tent one time at the Round Top show and a major part of the tent fell!  Cupboards went down, full of glassware and all such.   Another time we showed here in Marktplatz and a canvas side of the pavilion came loose from ropes and blew in and knocked over a whole row of furniture and stuff. Awesome!   Still nothing compares with the time a tornado hit the little show at Round Rock Texas, Helen has stories to tell about that one. I think the roof may have come off the motel she was in with others.  I remember Zella Tucker the show manager had eyes as big as saucers that morning.  We had great adventures and wonderful trips in our antique business.  e

Thursday, March 15, 2018

A tiny china doll, Sophia Smith

It is always a nice day when  a wanted doll arrives. Opening the package is suspenseful, and then the  happy surprise when she exceeds expectations. This little treasure came to me from Carla Thompson of Oldeclectics  on Ruby Lane.   She is an exquisite 10 inch early china in original clothing and still with her original all leather body. The leather hands are mitten shaped for one so tiny. The little feet are greatly worn from dancing.  At some time she suffered a bashed head but was lovingly repaired.  A  perfect example of this very same Sophia Smith model, (there are several similar) in a little bigger size is on line right now offered for $5000.  So I love this one with her signs of a busy past life!

The thin cotton fabric of her skirt and shawl delights me. The bottom of the skirt is decoratively pinked  instead of hemmed. You can see the brown leather body barely showing  at the neckline. The skirt is flattened so I will place a little roll of fabric under it to puff it out just a bit.

A doll of this mold in the Strong Museum

Sophia Smith as this style of china head is known by doll collectors is one of my favorite styles. Fine China dolls are a pleasure to live with. I have a large perfect one by a different maker pictured below.

The frozen Charlotte below is dressed in her original dress and cape. This example is a covered wagon style.   She is 3 1/2 inches tall and stands nicely in the doll cabinet unsupported. 

Many of my chinas are gathered in  an old cradle. The three small ones are a parian Alice, a Kloster Veilsdorf brown eyed so called Greiner style china, and  another Sophia also with brown eyes. From the shape of her shoulder we know she once had a jointed wooden body.

 Thank you for sharing this special day with me.  e

Monday, March 5, 2018

a Big Sturdy Blond Greiner

With warm bright weather, my sun porch is a sweet place to sit and read or sew.  I spent a nice afternoon resizing a dress to fit a thirty inch blond Greiner who came to me in her old unders and stockings but no dress.  She has a petticoat, a chemise and lovely split drawers, which along with her old stockings seem original for her.

Her condition is overall very nice. Her old body is firm and  sturdy, with a few stains and patches. She has the expected scuffs and wear but has no restoration nor needs any. Unfortunately an area of her Greiner label has been torn away as someone attempted to remove part of it probably saying extended 72.  I have had this mold with just the Pat 58 date, in a smaller size, also blond. This head must have been made in a transitional time as she has the earlier Greiner hair style also seen in dark haired ones with a 58 label.

I shy away from cutting up a period garment in nice condition just to dress my old dolls! This time it was a bit easier because of a significant stain near the hem in back.  The little calico baby dress is certainly older than Miss Greiner herself.   I removed a six inch length of the hem and from that fashioned flared sleeves to extend the original ones.   An alternative if you have a nice dress you do not want to  cut up, is to make undersleeves of a cream colored fabric or lace and gather that in place to lengthen the sleeves. A too long dress hem may be turned up many inches, even 10 or so. At the waist a ribbon or an apron pulls in the fullness.

The dress after shortening it to the doll's ankle length

a closer look at the calico

And look at the wonderful old printed doll apron! This is a very large one fifteen inches long.  The tiny hand stitches on the narrow hem are almost too small to see.   It is a "pinner" type but I certainly do not intend to put any pins in this little top.  If ever needed it will get one small stitch in each top corner holding it against the dress.  Readers are welcome to copy it with a waterproof brown marker. I have spread it out to facilitate this.  

This precious antique bonnet is machine stitched, likely on a  singer featherweight like I have.   My friend EP always hated to put a bonnet on mache's because it hides their hair.  I think of her each time I tie bonnet strings under a doll's chin.

I by no means paint at my easel everyday right now, as I like to do.  But I think and paint and view art in galleries or with friends  or online everyday.    Art is a jealous master, my mind paints 24/7 when I am into it.  I need to take  a day or two sometimes just to enjoy my dolls and sew for them.   e

Monday, December 25, 2017

December 25th 2017

This has been a quiet Christmas day for me here in Fredericksburg. The beautiful Santa by Bethany Lowe makes a seasonal statement but I did not decorate the house as usual this Christmas. I am staying in and trying to make headway against a chest problem, not with my wonderful family because there is some flu there. The adorable little Yorkie puppy came from Santa to some of the great grands. What a face! He is six inches high! I am grateful for so many things and look forward to the coming year. There are paintings allover my breakfast table, and stacked down my hallway, and I cant wait to make more. e

Saturday, December 23, 2017

December 2017 Taos New Mexico

I had a short time in Taos in December but the cold forced me home sooner than I had planned. Just the same I set up to paint a bit in this sweet little condo on Kit Carson.

For some of us a visit to Taos is a pleasant vacation with new foods, new sights, lots of music and perhaps skiing. For a number of my artist friends it is an opportunity to paint the beautiful high desert scenery.  The light in that high clear air is exceptional and has been celebrated by artists for over one hundred years.
For some however, it is a deeper more meaningful time, a recognition of something like coming home to a place we have never been but have always belonged.  The locals understand this, and say the mountain claims some of us and as surely rejects others.  I am one who has fallen under the spell of the Mountain. The land at the base Taos Mountain resonates for me like no other place ever has. Several cultures have come together there and formed an amazing community.  I find so much in Taos to admire and support in any small way I can. 
 Healing so many of the world’s ills could start from this place.  Foremost perhaps is respect for the earth itself.  The pueblo people understand their existence here is drawn from Mother Earth and conservation and reuse of her resources should underpin all endeavors.  Water really is life, and Water must be wisely used and protected.  A large effort is made to have food locally grown and consumed.  Picuris pueblo has made the transition to solar electricity, Kit Carson Electric in Taos is committed to total solar by 2022.  Many homes in the area around Taos offer innovative solutions to living off the grid. 
Life is founded literally from the ground up. The adobe architectural style dates back over 1200 years, rising from the earth itself in response to the needs of the people.
Along with respect for the earth is respect for the diverse people of Taos, with acceptance for all who want to live in harmony.  Art and music and literature flourish here.  Time itself seems to be measured differently.  Local people say it is a hard place to live but they want to be here and no other place.  There is appalling poverty here as well as well as the charming lifestyle visible on the surface.  As I listen to recordings by Russell Means and other American Indian activists, I understand a fraction more of the abuse heaped on our indigenous peoples. 
Nothing I have said here touches on the profound spiritual impact I have experienced in Taos.  For that you must go and see for yourself. I have a Christian friend who says there is Fact and there is Faith and there is Mystery beyond our understanding.
I have chosen to give to Taos Feeds Taos and Heart of Taos. I invite others to consider joining me in this.   e
Forgive this duplicate Post, so many friends read the blog and not my FB page.  Wishing all of you a sweet Christmas.  My sweetheart has been gone 5 years this month, but still feels very close for me. e 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Mid October, back from Taos

Because I was not on the same computer and somehow my password was not enough, I have been locked away from blogging for many weeks.  My sweet time in Taos ended last week for now, and I have been struggling to put away the hundred things I took with me.

A good many paintings came home, 12 finished, two in progress, two left in a small show in Taos, and many in my mind yet to put on canvas.

I have photographs from the trip on my FB page if you care to look.  A few I will share here also.

Taos was almost an overload of sensations,  such incredible beauty at every turn, with the great golden trees 120 feet tall arching over the little streets in town to almost meet overhead on Liebert and Burch and Montoya and Los Pandos and more. Purple astors and yellow tipped chamisa grow wild, and over it all is that mystical mountain. I am surprised to find how passionately I miss the mountain. One is conscious of Taos mountain, in the parking lot at Walmart,  stopping at a traffic light,  coming out of the grocery store, it is ever present and for me,   impossible not to feel.  Taos Mountain changes color in the incredible light of that place,  sometimes in just a minute or two, confounding those who would photograph it or capture it in paint.   It is green with dark shadows, or with splashes of gold on the sides where the trees have taken color, or it is deep Copen blue with a sprinkling of snow on the top, or it is purple with swaths of apricot light from the evening's last sunlight in the opposite sky.  It is opalescent in the full Harvest Moon's light.

Painting with a fine group three mornings a week the entire time I was there enriched my experience past telling.  The East Studio Art League is led by artist Richard Alan Nichols in the historic studio of Ernest Blumenschein, one of the more prominent artists to work in Taos.  Rich Nichols' work can be seen in Parson's Gallery on the web.  Of course I enjoyed it first hand while there.  I soon felt at home  and wrapped in the love of this group of caring people sharing meaningful time and experiences.  Outside of my painting group, I met other warm and wonderful people also.  Taos has been a haven for alternate lifestyle advocates (Does anyone still say hippies?) since the 60's,  so I felt at home in that regard too.   There is music on various corners, much of it at Farmer's market on the Plaza Saturday morning.  People dance where and when they feel like it.  Wonderful big dogs go everywhere with their significant people.   Art is everywhere in dozens of galleries and open studios.  I pray that I can go again, and am grateful I could make the trip this time.  e

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