Tuesday, November 03, 2009


WHEEEEEEEE - what a great time we had at the Azalea House for the Halloween rug hooking workshop. Jill brought in national teacher Dianne Kelly of the Woolen Cottage in Hiram OH. I have had 3 week long classes with Dianne at different camps and she is a great teacher who really excels in wide cuts. She hooked a little Jack-O-Lantern in a 12 cut in just a few hours time - it was darling - dang it - I should have gotten a photo. I have tons of photos to show you so get a cup of tea and I'll talk a little about each one. The Azalea House was built in 1878 - it is 3 stories and has 6 guest rooms. It is typical Queen Anne architecture with a wrap around porch downstairs and what was probably a sleeping porch on the 2nd floor. It is built entirely of wood and most likely is cypress and heart pine with some native oak. It is located on the banks of the St Johns River in sleepy Palatka Florida. Palatka used to be a prominent stop on the river when northerners would come south for the winter by riverboat. There were stops all along the St Johns from Cowford (Jacksonville in the 1800's) to Sanford (near Orlando) and spend winter months in grand hotels or family cottages. In a recent post - I showed the wonderful historic home I work in which is also located on the St Johns River in the historic Riverside area near downtown Jacksonville.
We have had many retreats there and it is always fun to be there surrounded by all Jill's wonderful collections PLUS she has a small stitching shop inside which specializes in samplers. Let's go inside and have a look around.
This is the main stairway just off the foyer. See all those stair risers - they were hooked by members of our No Fl Rug Hooking guild several years ago and gifted to Jill. I won't go into naming which ones each member hooked but mine is the mummy and since I hooked most of mom's - I'll mention her's is the witches broom on the bottom stair. Wish I had gotten a better photo of all the samplers on the wall on this stairway. Jill's parents have a lovely B&B in Eufaula AL and JoAnn also has hundreds of stitched pieces - mostly samplers adorning her walls so if you are ever in Southeastern AL - you must visit the Candlelight Inn. Back in the 80's Jill had a darling cross stitch shop in Romeo Mich. so she has been involved with stitching for many years and has a vast collection of stitched items.
Proceeding down the long hallway past the stair case - Look at this fantastic quilt that Jill's friends and co-workers at the Olde Green Cupboard made for her. Too cool huh and what about that quaker wall - just wonderful - Sarah Tatum and Sarah Moon are the big ones.
Let's round the corner and you'll see the mantle in the dining room all decked out. Wish my photo would have shown all the glimmer and glitz but - trust me it is soooo cool.
Also in the dining room is the Halloween tree with the awesome tree skirt that our friend and mentor Katie Puckett designed and Jill hooked. I'll include a close up of the tree skirt - too bad I could not get the whole thing but there was not much clearance for another photo of the rest of the sections of the tree skirt. There are many stitched and hand crafted ornaments on this tree and one can stand and look for hours and marvel at the wonderful treasures to be seen.
Oh look - isn't this an eerie photo of Dianne giving a lesson to the 4 students who were hooking in the dining room on Halloween afternoon. WHOOOOOO - Spooky isn't it !
Come thru the huge doorway into the formal parlor and see some of my bestest friends hooking so industriously on their rugs. Katie Puckett, designer and dyer extraordinaire is on the phone on the far left, Nancy BFF and current Prez of the needlepoint guild I belong to that I refer to often in ramblings, in front of her is madame de Leeuw (Jill) and in the foreground is BFF Henrietta who stitched my wonderful Susannah Goose that I showed in my Halloween post a couple of weeks ago. Aren't these bay windows wonderful - they just don't build houses like this any more. If you are wondering what sampler that is on the wall behind Jill - Yep it's And They Sinned - beautifully framed in a Primitive Traditions frame - Jill must have been obsessed or maybe she was possessed when she stitched this one in 3 months !!!!!!!!!!
On the opposite wall above the mantle - is my favorite haunt of the house - Isn't this just the most debonair portrait of Mr Putnam - the county was named for this gentleman back in the 1800's or was it his father - oh well - I wouldn't mind a visit from him to my room LOL - Another beautifully decorated mantle - a great hooked witch on the left Jill won in the ATHA auction in New Orleans in 2007 and a neat witch on the other end made by another OGC associate. With her head down trying to look busy is BFF Karen of The Spinning Monkey design company. I met Karen a number of years ago on some of my first camps down in Sebring Fl - we used to go several times a year before prices got so outrageous - now I'm lucky to get to go once a year.
Another wonderful Halloween tree in the formal parlor.
To wrap things up - here is a photo of my new rug - Peace and Plenty by Not Forgotten Farms - I am hooking with lots of textures (plaids and checks) in this rug - Dianne came up with a nifty and interesting option for the backround of using 3 different textures in shades of a taupey-gray. I love it and it was exactly what I was looking for. The close up shot is of my turkey - OK OK - I was informed by my two buddies who know a lot about PA-German symbolism that this is a distelfink (sp?) - a mythical bird used in hex symbols and frakturs. I thought that was much cooler and more interesting than my bizarre turkey bird. I love my color plan and while it is rather hard to see in this lighting - I think once I get more hooking in place - you will be able to see why I love this color plan so much.
If you made it thru to the end of my tour of the Azalea House - I have a give away opportunity for you. If you are a stitcher and would like a chance to win a brand new copy of the BBD 13 halloween stocking book - please request that option and if you are a hooker, quilter, or penny rug enthusiast - I am going to put together a little package of wool fabric. I'll draw a winner next week on Veterans Day - Nov 11th - If you want a 2nd chance - please mention my blog contest on your blog and create a link to my blog and let me know in a 2nd post and you'll be entered twice for this drawing. Please post your comment and request in this blog entry so I don't miss it.
Hope you enjoyed the tour - I have some great friends to share these events with and I am so blessed to have them in my life. Wish my mom would have been there long enough to appear in the photos but she is a hard one to nail to the seat. ENJOY!


Nancy said...

I enjoyed your tour of Azalea House while drinking a cup of coffee! Thanks so much for sharing your enjoyable experience and the photos. What a gorgeous house! Your Peace and Plenty looks like it will be quite stunning!

Please enter my name in your giveaway for the Blackbird Designs Halloween stockings!

Terri(TerriBoog) said...

What a great tour of the Azalea House! You all look like you're having a great time. Loved the comment about the gentleman above the fireplace paying you a visit! ROFL! Your rug is going to be fabulous!

I'd love to be included in your drawing and will, when I get home tonight, post on my blog. I'll leave another comment when I do that.

I've not tried rug hooking yet but I've done punchneedle and rug punchneedle, too. Love 'em both but must try wool hooking one of these days!

Michelle said...

I really enjoyed your tour!! What amazing photos of all the goodies! I really want to learn how to hook. I love your Peace and Plenty - it will be beautiful. I'd love to be entered into your drawing for the wool - maybe it will spur me on to learning to do something with it!

Margaret said...

Wow! Thank you so much for the tour of Azalea House! I want to go there someday, but this is the next best thing! I love your new rug project -- so pretty! And I'd love to be entered for the wool pack. Maybe one day I'll actually try rug hooking. lol! Thanks! This is one wonderful post!

Siobhan said...

Melody, oh my gosh. I had to remind myself to swallow, I was just reading and gawking at all the photos. Oh my GOSH. Thank you, thank you, a million times thank you for taking us along on your workshop weekend. I loved touring Azalea House! I've heard so much about it but the image I had in my mind pales in comparison to the real thing. Wow. I am just... wow. Your Peace & Plenty rug is going to be FAB-U-LOUS!!! Wow.

Thanks for the offer, but don't enter me in the giveaway... I am more of a stitcher these days than a quilter, and I have the stocking book, so I'll step aside & let somebody else get a chance at it.

Thanks again! Wow. I think I'm going to read your post before bed, so I can go off to dreamland with these images in my head.

Jackie said...

Melody, what a beautiful photo trip through Azalea House!

I had no idea the gentleman in the photo held such appeal for you! LOL!

Your Peace and Plenty is gorgeous and I can see why you're so pleased with the color plan! I understand why you were so anxious to start it.

Marjo said...

I really enjoyed your post. It was wonderful. I have a wool rug hooking question for you. I have a good friend who has started it recently and is trying to find an economical way to cut the wool. If I can I will enter for my friend for the wool. I am sending your blog address to her. She doesn't have a blog but she will love to see yours. She is a Halloween fanatic. And the pics are just gorgeous.

Deb said...

Oh Mel - what a wonderful post. I just love every single picture of this wonderful house. It looks like you had such a wonderful time! I think that I really need to try my hand at rug hooking (dang it, you've already got me knitting for goodness sake - LOL)

Your new rug looks like it's going to be incredible. I'm loving it so far and I think it's what partially is making me want to try this out so badly.

I'd love to entered into your drawing. I'll post a link on my blog now.

Katrina said...

Looks like a wonderful weekend, thanks for sharing all the pictures. The house is gorgeous and I love your rug so far.

Katie said...

Awesome tour!! It made me feel like I was actually there (oh yeah, I was! hehehehe) It was a fabulous time and I'm thrilled with your excellent documentation of it!

Deborah/LavenderRose said...

I loved your tour of the Azalea House and your comments about Palatka and the St. John's River, Jacksonville, et. al. My mom lives there, and I did for about 5 yrs. in the late '90's with my daughter. So familiar with all you're talking about. Your rug hooking is awesome and how lonely I am for hooking friends which are so far between here in Naples, FL!! LOL 'though I did have them while my children were growing up in New England! Do you cut your own wools, dye them or order them from someone? I'm coming back to your blog every week!!! Love it!! Deb

Deborah/LavenderRose said...

Oh, BTW, could you please enter me in your giveaway? I'll post you on my blog!

Susan said...

My husband's company has a fishing camp in Palatka. I always wanted to go with him while he was at camp so I could stay at the Azalea House but work/children made that impossible. Thanks for the tour--I'll definitely have to get there when I retire and I'll be sure to admire your rug!

beeinstitches said...

Well, it was a memorable event and your blog entry captured it! Looking forward to more hooking together in a few weeks!
I'll pass on the drawing entry - as I have PLENTY, now just need some PEACE! ha-ha!

Michelle said...

Thanks so much for your comment on my blog. Yep, I am using the Limited Edition threads for Jenny Bean. They are so perfect for this piece!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful home. I really enjoyed the tour. What a delight to find your blog and all the fabulous rugs! The turkey rug looks like it is going to be beautiful...love the colors you started with.

Zauberfels said...

Super schön und gemütlich. Erinnert mich ein bsichen an unsere Wasserkoog-Tage an der deutschen Nordsee.
Sowas ist so herrlich :o)
Lieben Gruss

CMW said...

why so much emphasis on Halloween? I don't see the reason for a whole house to be invested in [time and $] for Halloween? Plus I find that using trees [albeit not org a Christmas idea] but traditionally associated with Christmas and the season to be- well, rude and disrespectful. Why?

jelly andrews said...

Thanks for the tour. But I was really hooked up with stairs. The stairs is really cool. It is really something that could start up a conversation.