About us

This is the start of a new adventure for Joan and myself, an exciting new patchwork and quilting shop called Dotty Dolly. We are based in Wellington, Somerset, at 13 Fore Street (opposite the Nat West). You can contact us on 01823 660879.

We are easy to get to from junction 26 on the M5 - come and see us if you are passing by.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas

Just a quick note to say Merry Christmas to all our customers and a Happy New Year - we hope to see you next year. 

Don't forget that we are not open until 4th January

Debby & Joan

Monday, 20 December 2010


I think we have had more snow in the last few days than we usually get over ten years.  I looked out the window on Saturday morning and thought it looked beautiful but that might have been because it was my day off and it was Joan who was going to have to struggle in.  She rang in the morning to say that the buses were not running so she had a difficult time and did not arrive until 10ish. 

In the afternoon we went to look at a hall with car parking and although small is perfect for classes and small workshops so I think we are set for the New Year now - all I have to do is produce the new list ready for Wednesday.  Don't forget if you are around on Wednesday to call in for a mince pie and tea/coffee, unfortunately we can't offer a hot toddy as we don't have anything to heat it on - unless we put it in the kettle!

Had some strange requests over the last couple of weeks - one chap came in and asked for enough red fabric to cover his nether regions as he was dressing up as Danger Mouse.  The fabric is 45inches (whatever that is in centrimetres) and he wanted a 20cm strip.  Another man wanted to line his cutlery drawer and yet another man came in and asked if we sold wonderweb when I replied that we didn't he wanted an explanation as to why not - I remained polite.  Notice all the strange requests come from men, why is that?

Since starting this blog we have had yet more snow and neither of us can get in today (Monday) which is slightly annoying - apparently cars have been abandoned on the A38 and the motorway is down to one lane.  Much as I love snow I think it would be stupid to travel especially as they are telling everyone to stay home.  So apologies if you have made it to Wellington. I am planning to go in tomorrow - hopefully the weather will be better.

If you are stuck at home I hope you are warm and well


Saturday, 4 December 2010

Christmas is coming

The workshops finished last week - Joan held the bag workshop on the coldest day possible although the people in the hall would never have known how cold it was outside as she kept the heating on full blast and wouldn't allow anyone to turn the heaters off (last time they wouldn't work again and everybody got cold) just in case they would not turn on again.  Apparently by the end of the day they were stripped down to their vests!!

We attended our first Chamber of Commerce meeting last Wednesday which made us feel quite grown up (not something I am used to) all I could think about was that my hair had gone flat and my roots were showing - so maybe not quite so grown up.  It was good to meet other traders in the town as we don't have time in the day to wander round and chat to anyone. Judith Goss was there and Joan's first words were "Oh you did my wedding flowers 36 years ago" luckily she didn't seem to mind being reminded how long she has been working. 

We have our christmas decorations up which I am really excited about - I have restrained myself with the lights as I couldn't get Joan to agree to having them round the fabric and over all the shelves so we agreed on one set in the window. Little Ben and his brothers came in  just after we had put up our one set of lights and we discussed  fireplaces, the boys and I thought it would be good to have some red lights for our fire so we could hang stockings round it so I rushed straight over to Buy and Save to buy more lights so when you look in the window and see a piled bunch of red lights that is what it is supposed to depict. If any of you have any other suggestions which involve adding lights come in on Wednesday as we are both in and we (I) would appreciate your ideas.

We have had some odd requests this week - one man came in for felt to line his cutlery drawer and this morning a man came in for a button for the top of his trousers, at one point I thought he was going to lift his top to make sure the button fitted, I have never convinced someone that I have found a suitable button quicker!!

At the moment we are in the process of organising events for next year, more information coming soon.  We are also having a Christmas Mince Pie morning on Wednesday 22nd December in aid of St Margarets Hospice - we will email everyone with more details during the week.

Hope you are all having a stress free build up to Christmas


Sunday, 21 November 2010


Anne Baxter did her first workshop for us on Wednesday - Battenberg quilt. Thought I would prove how wonderfully organised we were so got to the hall early to make sure everything was set up, as I was driving to the hall realised that I had left the tea, coffee and biscuits behind.  Anne was already there when I arrived (only just) so sorted out the room and rushed off to get refreshements. I went to see the class at the end of the day and they had all produced exciting and colourful blocks.  Hopefully she will come back and do more workshops for us.

On Thursday I was happily working in the shop alone when the delivery man arrived with a huge box which he left and went off to get another, I asked how many they were - apparently three.  I opened the first box and was convinced that we would not have ordered the first couple of bolts I looked at so rang Joan in a panic and asked her what she had done!  We both decided that it was a mistake so I pushed all the boxes back into the stock room as they were too heavy to lift and rang the supplier to tell them they had made a mistake, either that or Joan had had a breakdown and been persuaded by the lovely Alan to buy a random mix of fabrics.  I was told that it was no mistake so every so often I would go out and look at the boxes and swear.  At about 3 in the afternoon I decided to open everything as we couldn't send it back so I may as well have a proper look.  After the panic I realised that I actually liked the majority of the fabric and felt much calmer - I thought that we had completely lost the plot and all our sense of taste had disappeared, thank goodness we are okay (I think)

I held my first workshop on Saturday, I have been worrying about this for the last four weeks and as the time got nearer I was getting more manic (hence the irrational behaviour with the delivery), frantically making more things in case nobody liked what I had already produced, also Joan made some stuff as I think she thought I might have a heart attack.  I think it all went okay - everyone produced something lovely and hopefully they will all make more. Thank you to the lovely ladies - Marina, Daphne, Pat and Gloria - remember to bring in your finished work


Thursday, 11 November 2010

Turning cold

Nights are getting darker, the weather is getting colder and both Joan and I are having to find warmer clothes that look decent and that don't make us look like michelin men.  Luckily we have a heater in the shop but we are trying not to use it too often as the landlord told us that it is expensive so if you see us jumping up and down or running round the shop you know that we are just warming up.

I did my first order on the telephone this week (not that exciting to you but it is to me) so at least we know that we are able to take payments without customers being in the shop - the only downside was that I put the goods and the receipt on the cutting table and managed to cut the receipt into tiny pieces when cutting fabric for another customer. So now the needlecases have gone in the post with a sellotaped receipt which looks like crazy paving and is not going to inspire the customer with confidence although I have put a note in to explain what happened.

We have had our first workshop run by Joan - Using a rotary cutter to make a cushion.  The course went really well and I had a lady (Annette) in the shop today telling me how much she enjoyed it, so thats good news.  Joan even had a young lad on the course who is really keen and has already made a quilt with help from a relative in New Zealand! 

At the moment we have a Selvedge quilt hanging in the shop which has been made by Shirley Sherratt (stitcherydo) - everybody has been raving about it and we thought it might be nice to use this space as somewhere to hang other people's work as it can be really inspiring to see what other people are doing so if you have a quilt you would like to show off let us know. Unfortunately I don't have the camera with me today so can't take a picture of Shirley's quilt but will put one on the blog next week.

Need to stop now so that I can run around the shop


Saturday, 6 November 2010

Long break

Apologies for the long break - Joan had her holiday and the following week we had loads to catch up on then I had a week off so that my husband and I could do some decorating - we did one day and spent the rest of the week going out and shopping (he is as bad as I am).  He even offered to pay for a decorator so that I didn't have to move my arms - this probably makes no sense but after a day of stripping wallpaper off the walls and ceiling of a reasonably sized room I could not move my arms the following day and obviously moaned continually, hence the offer to pay for somebody else to do the work.  I am going to soldier on and finish the room, eventually. 

I went back to work for a week and Joan wrote down all the instructions to carry on with the blog whilst I was away, I then went off for an exciting week in Kent.  We decided on Kent as this was a county that neither of us had been to before (this is my husband and I and not Joan), our first two nights were going to be spent in Brighton (I know Brighton is not in Kent). Then we were going to be wild and free just deciding where to stop if we liked the look of somewhere!

Now I am back and the blog will resume as it has been confirmed that Joan is a real technophobe and couldn't do it, but she had produced a windows worth of new items - the red collection which is lovely and very effective. (Picture is minus a bag that Joan made and I sold yesterday - more work for Joan)

The red window (bag missing)

We are now working different days which I find odd (not sure if Joan does) I end up talking to myself a lot when in the shop alone so people walking past the window probably think I am a bit weird.  We have discussed bringing in a radio but that would be a nightmare for me as I need to sing along when I hear songs I know (and even those I don't, I just make up the words), not sure it would be a good thing to make customers wait whilst I finish singing plus I always have to emphasis musical points with body movement!!

Back to the shop - whilst I was away the new Bliss range arrived which Joan whizzed into bags and cushions.  More Kaffe Fasset is now in which seems to be delivered one bolt at a time which is giving us an opportunity to get to know the delivery man quite well. 

Kaffe Fassett

Kaffe Fassett

We had a customer in from New Zealand whilst I was away - she had read about us on Shirley Sherratt's blog 'Stitcherydo' which is amazing and just goes to prove that you should be careful what you say as you don't know how far it will travel.  We also had a delegation from another local shop (again whilst I was away) and it was a shame they did not say who they were as it would have been nice to build a working relationship with them, hopefully they will call in again.

Our workshops start next week which is exciting but also scary - Joan is running the first one on Wednesday followed by Ann Baxter and then me!!  I will panic right up to 10am when the class starts and then I will be fine - I must stress this is not unusual, this is normal behaviour so don't worry if you are booked on my day.

Blog will now be updated every week - promise

Friday, 1 October 2010

Joan's return

Thank goodness Joan is back tomorrow, people wandering past the shop must be quite worried about me as I sit and talk to myself and the fabric - early onset something or other.

The last two weeks have been hectic - we have had the local travellers through town who apparently live on the hills, they have obviously come in for their shopping so whilst one shops the other plays with his instrument outside the bank

Saturday was Wellington Carnival which starts at 7o'clockish but for some reason they shut the main road through town at 1.30 in the afternoon - I didn't realise it took so long to get ready!!!  Consequently there were hardly any people in the town in the afternoon apart from balloon sellers and small children crying because their parents wouldn't pay £5 for a balloon.

Whilst Joan has been away I have been buying buying buying - fabric that I know she doesn't like and definitely not in pink, purple or orange.  Alan our lovely Moda rep brought in some fabrics that Joan had already vetoed as they were too dull but he managed to convince me that they were best sellers so I made an executive decision which has since gone to my head and I have made quite a few in the last few days.

Some of the fabric we ordered back in May has just arrived
I think the owls face is lovely- he looks a bit constipated or depressed

Now Joan is back I will be calmer and have plenty of good explanations of why I have spent so much money and I think Alan knows when I am on my own as he came in just before she returned I had to have another rummage in his boot for any other items that might be useful - goodness knows how much that will cost!!


Thursday, 23 September 2010

Top Ten Quilt

Brilliant news - Joan & Rosalind's quilt, which is hanging up in the shop at the moment, was voted one of the top ten at the NEC quilt show and can be seen in the new Popular Patchwork magazine.  Joan is on holiday at the moment and has no idea, she will be delighted when she comes back. 

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Talking to myself

Well I have spent a week talking to myself now, luckily people have also been coming in so I have had some interaction with other people.

I did have a quiet breakdown yesterday due to a market researcher.  I had met this lady a few days ago and she asked if I used 'Dove' to which I replied "No".  Yesterday she came in the shop (obviously she had forgotten that she had already spoken to me) and she repeated the same question and I gave the same reply. She then explained that she only had to find a few more people to complete the research and that her target group were the 55 - 65's.  May I just say that I have 5 more years until I reach her target group although I was too polite to tell her this.  When I got home and told my husband he couldn't see why I was worried about it - needless to say I am now looking at cosmetic websites and am joining the local Rosmary Conley group this evening.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Mad day

Yesterday was very different.  A lovely lady called Shirley came in, she had spoken to Joan last week, when I was out for the day, about some help with one of her projects and said she would come in again.  She wanted to do flip and stitch (its approximately ten years since I have done any of this) and my brain went into shut down just like it does when you (or maybe its just me) enter an exam room. 

Whilst she was drawing out her pattern I sat and did a run through which meant that I calmed down and my brain started to function again.  Someone had suggested to her that she use a layer cake and that this would be the easiest thing to do for a first patchwork project (not Joan).  As we were going through what she needed to do the lovely Ann Baxter came into the shop.  Ann, for those of you who don't know her, is an excellent teacher and very talented. Before the shop opened I used to enjoy attending a patchwork group held at her home in Devon .  This turned my brain completely to mush, it felt like being back in the classroom at college with an observer. I must stress that Ann would be mortified if she thought that she had made me react this way.  Anyway I survived, Shirley went away with a nearly completed block and I headed for the Chocolate Box for a strong soya latte.

This may make me seem completely inept - I think I just like to be prepared, the cogs in my brain seem to take longer to connnect these days.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Two week anniversary

Apologies for not blogging regularly - our internet connection at home has not been working for the last month and I have to blog in the shop which is not always an ideal situtation.

So much has happened, we have been told that we are very brave to open a shop in the recession (just makes us worry more), have been advised what to do and what to sell, most of the advice has been useful and positive. We are now on the look out for a good venue for the classes so that we can inform everyone within the next couple of weeks, we will also put together a list of workshops at the same time.

We have survived the last two weeks which have whizzed past, we have even sold out of a bolt of fabric and had to re-order (we do get excited by the smallest thing at the moment).

Wellington held a food fair on our first Saturday which was different and we both managed to get out of the shop to have a quick look around.  Joan's son and his wife came down from London at the end of the week and paid a visit.  Neil (Joan's son) gave us lots of advice and his wife, Claire, really wanted to use the till -  we should have insisted that Neil buy her something so that she could put it through.

On Tuesday the Tour of Britain bike race went through the town and on my way to get my soya latte from the Chocolate Box I noticed a group of older ladies were in position well before the bikes were due (must be the thought of the lycra) .  The cyclists were late due to the bad weather, everyone stood around waiting for what seemed like an hour, when the riders arrived it took seconds for them all to pass by, it would have been more interesting if one of the ladies had run after them but nothing like that happened unfortunately, maybe I should have done it!!!!

Now I am on my own for two weeks which will be very strange, so if you come in and hear me talking away to myself please don't be alarmed.  So it will definitely be lovely to see you and if you bring a soya latte you could be my friend forever!

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

nearly one week old

Well we have nearly completed one week of trading and are still amazed at all the nice comments that people make.  We even had a visit from the Deputy Mayor and a member of the Town Council who came in and welcomed us - this would be unlikely to happen in Taunton. 

Our list for people interested in classes has now filled three pages, all we need to do now is to find a hall and we can get on and organise groups although we are still getting used to owning a shop.  We have loads of ideas but need to focus on just a few things at once!

We had a royal visit from Shirley today (for more info check out her blog sticherydo) who cut the ribbon to officially open the shop. A few weeks ago we were on a trip to Cowslip in Launceston with the Apple County Quilting group and she mentioned about cutting a ribbon so we bought one, ready for her arrival. Unfortunately I had no previous warning or I would have dressed up instead of wearing my old cardigan which is not very flattering plus I thought that I had moved out of the way and would not be in the picture which was stupid as the shop is not that wide - need to get back on that diet. Joan will be upset as she wasn't even in the shop at the time.

The best thing about being here is meeting all the people - we have met so many lovely ladies (and a few men) who have given their advice and ideas, one we will be putting in place quickly is the box of toys for children to play with.  This idea came from a customer who had to chase after her little girl who left the shop when she realised that there was nothing of interest for her - a three year old who knows what she wants.

Also had a visit from a lady from County Quilters in Taunton who said she had been sent over to find out about us - luckily I was on my best behaviour!!!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

First Day

We have completed our first day of trading which has been scary, exciting, wonderful and by 4.30pm exhausting.  We have been covered in paint for so long that it has been lovely to wear normal clothes, make up and jewellery. 

At 7.30 this morning we were on our way to Wellington worrying about how the day would go, if we would be able to use the till (similar to Arkwrights) which refuses to open when we press the button and whose instructions are gobbledigook and if we would be capable of using the credit card machine.  Thankfully it was much better than we expected and it was lovely to meet people we haven't seen for a while and new people who we hope to see again. 

Marina was our first customer and our first follower on our blog, she made some lovely comments about the shop and even bought something!!!!  Throughout the day people have been coming in (mostly female) saying how pleased they are to see a fabric shop in the town and what a good job we had done, we had three bouquets of flowers from our landlords, Joan's children and her sister (note nothing from my family) which were unexpected and a lovely surprise.  Ann Mclaren made some lemon drizzle cake which everyone raved about and Joseph (little boy from next door) came in regularly to check we were okay and to pick up one of Joan's cup cakes.

Tomorrow will be better because we now know how to use the machinery - if you are in the area come and see us
Button & Ribbon table with gorgeous "Where's my Shirt"
quilt made by Joan and Rosalind

Joan trying to work out how to use the till

Plenty of space for more fabrics!!!

Friday, 27 August 2010

4 days to go

We have painted everything that moves, and stands still, the whole shop was bright white until today. When we left last night there were bare floorboards, this morning it has been transformed by carpet and we can walk around without shoes on. What we didn't realise is that the furniture would still be slightly wet so the poor carpet fitters were covered in paint, we thought everything was a bit tacky and as long as they didn't touch anything too roughly they would be okay but Martin discovered the wet bits underneath the units. Oops! 

 There is one part of the shop we are not too happy with and thats the piece of wall that covers some pipes which we have christenend the scabby post - the paint keeps flaking and we are so fed up of painting that we are going to make a feature of it (or cover it with something). 

We are really pleased with ourselves, we have done the large majority of the work on our own.  I have an impressive pair of biceps and Joan is covered in blisters but she is now thinking she might help with the decorating at home which her husband will be delighted to hear.

The final stage is the sign writing, which should be done this weekend, and taking delivery of more stock and putting it on the shelves.  All we have to panic about now is if we have any customers!!!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010


We are both exhausted - went in on Saturday to finish off all the painting but by lunchtime we realised that this wasn't likely to happen as we had only just finished taping all the plaster board joints.  Luckily Joan's sister and dad turned up, in their painting gear, to help. With their help all the walls and ceiling were given a coat of paint - it now looks gorgeous but there is still loads to do.    I am sure all the passers by found it hilarious to see this grown up woman (me) struggling to get up and down a ladder and holding on for dear life at the dizzy height of 4 steps.  Joan and her dad had matching hats on, she calls it her cricket hat which I did take photos of but my computer won't read the card from my camera.  We finally left about 4 in the afternoon and my legs were just about giving up as we walked to the car.

You can now see a picture of the new shop front which I have taken with another camera

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Still decorating

Today we are painting the walls and ceiling - its taken four days of preparation and as long as we don't find lumps of filler on the floor (from holes in the ceiling that we filled on Thursday) we should be able to cover it all in white paint and it will look gorgeous!

If you are walking past today and see two exhausted, old  (not too old) women lying on the floor in the shop please bring coffee (tea for Joan)

Will take a picture of the shop today before I get covered in paint and when there are no vans parked outside

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Replacement of shop front

As you can see from the picture the shop front was not particularly attractive, thankfully it has been replaced as the building is listed and aluminium frames did not comply. We now have a lovely wooden front which I will photograph tomorrow so that you can see the difference.

Our job now is to match the inside to the outside which sounds so easy!!! We have had plenty of advice on what to do, and how to do it, from husbands and builders. It didn't seem like it would be too difficult and we definitely don't want to spend our stock money on painters & decorators so have decided to do the work ourselves (something we are already beginning to regret). Our first task was to prepare the plasterboard which (we were advised) meant watering down emulsion so the board could absorb the moisture - no idea why. Within two minutes we were both covered in paint as the rollers just sprayed the emulsion everywhere, over us, the floor but just dripped down the walls.

I thought we would have the whole shop painted in two days but at the end of the second day we still have not filled in all the screw holes in the plasterboard or covered it all with the first coat of paint. Joan has spent most of today trying to pull off carpet which appears to be superglued onto board, her hands were covered in plasters by lunchtime. We then had a visit from the lovely Martin (Chilcott Carpets) who advised us to take up the board as well so all Joan's effort was wasted, but it was good exercise.

After all the work we put in yesterday one of the builders who is making a shop counter for us said to Joan that he hoped we were going to go over all the joins with filler (which I would like to say that I had done but obviously not to a professionals standard)so tomorrow we will be back re-filling and spraying paint everywhere.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

One month to go!!!!

Only one month left, time is rushing by so quickly - or is that an age thing!

We have spent most of our time so far meeting some lovely reps who probably wondered whether we were mad as we squealed everytime they showed us yet another range of gorgeous fabrics. Then they had to listen to us persuade each other to buy something that the other didn't like, discuss why we thought some ranges weren't for us etc. The last rep we met (the lovely Alan) we told straight away that we had very little money left, we then proceeded to rummage through the boot of his car and picked up two of everything - I am sure he didn't mind.

Now we are waiting for all the fabric to arrive which is very exciting and spending time decorating the shop (not quite so exciting) so if you are in the area bring along a paint brush.