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, 23 December 2011

Happy Christmas

It`s a while since we have posted a blog, even my dad asked when the next one would be!  Debby and I have been busy, busy.  Poor old Debby has been getting the accounts ready which is quite a task, she is much better at that kind of thing than me, but I have felt guilty because she has had all the horrible stuff to do while I have been sewing.

The shop has been busy, we have found it quite interesting that we are not selling readymade items like we did last year.  Customers are wanting to have a go themselves, or are buying fabric for friends who like to sew.  We have had several wish lists for husbands, and they have all been very dutiful!  Lots of people have been watching Kirsty`s Homemade Christmas and wanting to make what they have seen her making, particularly the hearts, she is now known as St. Kirsty!  We have sold out of the new roll of Fuse-a-Web which would normally have lasted a couple of months, and unfortunately we didn`t have any bells - if you watched the programme you will understand what I am talking about!

We have been organising our workshop list for the beginning of next year, but it has proved very problematic, and we haven`t managed to send it yet.  We had hoped to do it up to April, but every date we want in April is not available at our usual venue, so we have been trying to find somewhere else.  Debby is hopefully going to finalise it today and get the list sent out - fingers crossed.  We have been busy working on samples and trying to sort out what we are going to do.  I will be doing another Beginner`s Course, and this time have decided to do a set of  cushions.  I have started to put them together , but I have quite a lot of quilting to do yet, as you can see from above.  I need to stitch the circles, and can`t make up my mind to do it by hand or machine.  I have used some of the new Moda Etchings Wovens from 3 sisters, plus a charm pack of Panier de Fleurs by French General, with a couple of others thrown in for good measure.  The one below I will do by machine. They would go in my sitting room beautifully, and I am rather fed up with the cushions I have at present, so the may end up there! There are two others, but I have a little way to go with them yet.

Debby who is now the Jelly Roll Queen, is going to do a workshop on Layer Cakes, she has a few ideas up her sleeve, but I thought I would have a go.  There seems to be lots of patterns out there for Jelly Rolls, but the Layer Cakes always seem more difficult to find.  The one I have done is really easy.  I thought I liked the Layer Cake I used, until I started to make it!  The top is completed so I just need to get it ready to quilt, which I aim to do during the Christmas Break.

We will be closing at 12 noon tomorrow, and will re-open on Tuesday 3rd January, giving us both some time to re-charge our batteries.  We hope you all have a great Christmas and don`t spend too much time in the kitchen unless you want to!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Christmas is coming!

I can`t believe it is nearly two weeks since I wrote.  Debby is probably back from holiday, although I haven`t spoken to her yet.  Its been a hectic couple of weeks with lots going on, and of course I have felt very importants being in charge.  Trade is picking up with lots of people buying Christmas fabrics, or fabric to make Christmas presents, some have even bought fabric to give as Christmas gifts!

Last Friday I was asked to go and run a workshop for Apple County Quilters.  If you don`t already know, this group of ladies are very accomplished, and to say I was nervous is a slight understatement.  We had agreed that I would take a Christmas angel, a couple of Christmas wall hangings and cushions.  The group meet in a lovely hall out at Bradford on Tone, and it was so nice to get out of the shop for a day.  In the event I had a very enjoyable day and met some lovely people, who made me feel very welcome.  Hopefully they all enjoyed themselves as much as I did. Some finished, but most had a little more to do - I`m looking forward to seeing the finished results.  Sue very kindly popped to the shop yesterday with a gift for me beautifully wrapped in red dotty paper with a letter thanking me.  Inside was not one, but two boxes of chocolates!  I have to say I have left one in the shop and opened them, unfortunately every time I go out the back where they are they say to me `eat me, eat me`, and of course I do - oh dear!

The angel on the right was the angel I orginally made for my grandaughter which was a huge success with her, and the other two were slightly more refined.  Somehow or other they didn`t look right with the felt shoes, so I left them off.  I have a couple more ideas for them but just haven`t had enough time - nothing new there then.

I had a customer in the shop yesterday who I thought I recognised.  When I got talking to her Debby and I had met her at Malvern, she was from Newport in Wales.  She was down in Somerset with her husband who was going on a glass making course near Honiton and she popped in.  While talking to her is turned out she was a longarm quilter.  Her husband popped to the car and brought back some photographs of her work which was fantastic.  So if anyone wants some quilting done then contact us and we will give you Sue`s details.  It always impresses me when husbands come in the shop and show interest and enthusiasm, and positively encourage their wives to spend money - this just wouldn`t happen to me!  It was so nice to see her again, and quite reassuring that people do remember you from the shows, and come and find you!

Earlier this week my husband gave me a lift to the shop and said to me that he usually really liked our window displays, but this time it looked like an old lady`s shop.  I was rather put out by this as you can imagine, I kind of knew what he was trying to say, but I didn`t agree with him.  One window had our wonderful selection of felt in it, and the other our new kits which I was rather pleased with.  However, I began to panic and thought well if he thinks that other people probably do as well, so I got the sewing machine out and started on some Christmas cushions which are now in one of the windows.

I was particulary pleased with the Christmas tree cushion.  I just stitched some strips together and then cut them into triangles and appliqued them on to linen.  I finished them with a little trunk and a green star button. To save on the linen, I made the back in red cotton.  We have just got in the star shaped buttons and they are selling really well.  The felt is still in the other window, but to be honest I don`t know where to put it all when it does come out of the window, and I need to come up with another Christmas themed window.  That said Debby is the Christmas diva, and no doubt within a week or so, it will be all singing and dancing with glitter, lights and goodness knows what else! 

There is a lot going on in Wellington for Christmas.  For the first time the town is going to have late night shopping on the two Wednesdays and Sundays before Christmas, and the council is providing free parking on Saturdays in December.  Sam from Cloud 9 is the driving force behind this, I don`t know where she gets her energy from, but she has worked tirelessly the last few weeks organising entertainment and getting all the local traders on board.  We can`t compete with Taunton, but there are some lovely individual shops in the town, so if you fancy doing some Christmas shopping in a more relaxed atmosphere come on over to Wellington!

We had a delivery of some Moda woven fabrics today in a range of mostly greys, but a little red.  They are beautiful fabrics that almost feel like silk.   I attempted to take a photograph of some of them, but it wasn`t a huge success, but I will show them anyway.  My mind started working overtime whilst cutting the fat quarters, and I think they would look really good with just a touch of shocking pink.

Happy stitching

Monday, 7 November 2011

Better late than never

It`s been a week now since Debby and I came back from Malvern, and a couple of weeks since we last posted a blog, so better late than never - here goes.  The first picture is the lovely converted barn we stayed in, about two minutes away from the showground, but down a little lane and a world away.  It was like being on holiday while there.  Debby had a downstairs room, and I was upstairs, and just outside my room was a gallery, which was wonderful.  What you can`t see are the views, there was a massive pond behind where this picture was taken, and on the other side a fantastic garden with another pond, this time man-made, we overlooked this while we ate our delicious breakfast, it really was all fantastic.  The show was new for us, as it was our first show where we had to travel and stay overnight.  It was very busy on the Friday, and each day got progressively quieter but still busy.  It was certainly worth doing, and was great to see so many of our friends, and meet some new ones, including Lawrence on the next stand, who spent most of the time insulting us, but had us in stitches!  We took lots of fabrics with us, and really our stand wasn`t  big enough for all our stock.  We took lots of felt with us, and sold lots of red - people getting ready for Christmas!  I think I have mentioned before that Debby doesn`t do things by halves, and has bought enough felt to open a felt shop!   That said we have sold nearly all the red, as she bought about 4 times more than the other colours.  We have booked up for next year, but are going to have a larger stand.

Just thought you might like to see Debby by her van.  It was her van, as I never drove it once, I would have had a nervous breakdown just at the thought of it!  I was a  little shocked on the morning we left to find that she had never driven one before (she has driven a minibus) so  I just decided to go into denial about that. I cannot deny that I am a very nervous passenger, and I must drive her mad.  In fact she says she has started to behave like me when she is in the car with her husband Chris, and he is not amused.  However after about five minutes she was driving like an old pro, apart from the parking.  I am sure she won`t mind me telling you that after the first night parking at the pub where we ate each evening she decided to park on the road!  She had an audience of smokers, who she was convinced were laughing at her, which wasn`t good for her pride!  I just made what I thought were supportive noises, but probably drove her mad! We came back very tired on Sunday night.  We managed to pack up quickly and were on the road by 5 pm.  We were about half an hour into our journey when Debby said had I taken the quilt off the wall, and of course I had forgotten, however we decided to leave it there, and when I rang the next day, the organisers had very kindly taken it down and are sending it back to us.  My fault entirely.  Then of course, when we got back we had to leave everything in the shop so Debby could take the van back early next morning.  On Monday morning, I had a shop that looked like a bomb had dropped in it, and needless to say it way busy, goodness knows what the customers must have thought.      

Just thought I would show you this picture of my husband, John. I bought him a days falconry for his birthday earlier in the year.  He had a great day, and the birds got progressively bigger, until this one arrived a Eurasion Eagle Owl, which he says was very heavy.  He had a great time, no thanks to Wayne who was his guide for the day.  I still keep laughing that he buys sausage meat for his birds, from Mr. Potter the butcher in Wellington as he thinks they are the best in the area and obviously nothing but the best will do for his birds!

My treat this week was a gift from my daughter to go on a Chocolate making course.  We drove over to Wales on Sunday morning, left John at Katie`s house, and travelled up to the valleys to Blaenavon where we went to Chocs Away, a lovely little cafe where the workshops are held and whose slogan is `Take what you make`!  It was great fun.  There were only 6 of us, Pam who owns the business doesn`t take any more on the Sunday afternoon sessions.  We started by melting chocolate and pouring it into moulds, mixing the different kinds of chocolate, I made little butterflies, with milk and white chocolate.  We then went on to more complicated stuff including snobette`s!  These are little chocolate cases filled with ganache and topped with beautiful little decorations, I used little sugar hearts on mine.  We made fudge, different fillings such as lemon, raspberry and mint, and truffles.  We were given spoons every time we made anything so we could basically lick the bowl, and it was all delicious.  Half way through the afternoon, we stopped for tea and Pam produced a chocolate fountain with loads of fruit, fudge and marshmallows, it was great!  Before we left we were given presentation boxes  and ribbons to decorate the boxes and we really did take home everything we made, apart from the ones I had eaten!  It was such a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon, and I can`t recommend it highly enough.  If you are interested the website is www.chocsparty.com. and you can easily get there in an hour and a half from our part of the world.  Below my finished chocolates, all packed up and ready to go, not quite as beautifu as I would have liked, but edible!

 Back to patchwork and quilting now!  We have had a very busy week which is good.  I had a beginners workshop on Saturday, and once again I had a lovely group.  They were very adventurous, as most of them made small quilt tops, I won`t say they finished them, but most were well on the way to completing by the end of the day.  Debby is off on holiday now for two weeks, so I feel very important, she has left me in charge!  She has given me my instructions, and doesn`t want anything to do with me, or anyone else for that matter, for the next two week.  Her and Chris are off to North Wales to stay in a National Trust cottage in the middle of nowhere -lucky her!     .  

Friday, 14 October 2011


Joan is now back from holiday, refreshed and full of beans whereas I am struggling to keep upright and looking forward to my holiday in November although not sure where it will be yet.

Before Joan went away we were approached by the Craft Focus magazine, they wanted to write a short introduction to our business which was brilliant but they emailed asking for a photo of both of us and wanted it straight away.  Neither of us like having our photo taken and with no chance of going to the hairdressers to get our roots done (I know that is surprising) or to have a facial (also surprising) this was a major thing.  I had had a few late nights and was suffering with black circles under my eyes, Joan had no lipstick and even worse we had no-one we trusted to make us look beautiful to take the photo.  First choice was to ring my husband but he took too long to get to us so we asked Helen, our landlady.  I rushed to Superdrug to get some cover up for my black circles and half heartedly offered Joan a lipstick from my bag  - a major thing for me because I am such a germ freek but she politely refused.  Typically I had dressed in my Mama Cass clothes that day, not at all what I would like to be published in but our photographer managed to make us look half decent and spent ages making sure we were happy (particularly Joan).  So now we are in this months magazine, if you see a copy have a look.

Last Wednesday we went to the launch of the Sedgemoor Ward at Musgrove Hospital to see the Memory Quilts and the work that they had done to improve the ward.  I photographed the quilts on my phone but they are not very clear so I will go back with my proper camera and retake.  The ward itself is really bright and cheerful, completely different to what it used to be, they have done a lovely job.

1960's quilt

1970's quilt

1950's quilt

1940's quilt

If you have really good eyesight you maybe able to see one of your squares.

We are now building up to the Malvern show and both panicking about how much work we need to do - we have no idea what to expect.

More to follow


Thursday, 29 September 2011

Back from Kefalonia

I arrived back from my holiday today so this is just going to be a short post.  Debby and I were so busy before I went away, and didn`t have time to update the blog.  In the meantime, I have been away for a fortnight, and Debby has been holding the fort, and sounded rather tired when I spoke to her this afternoon! 

I can`t tell you much about what has been going on in Dotty Dolly`s world for the last two weeks, and I won`t know until I go in tomorrow, but I am assuming things have been going along like a well oiled machine!  So while Debby has been busy, I have been sunning myself in the lovely island of Kefalonia.  We arrived to a heatwave, it was very hot, and then had one day of rain - that wasn`t supposed to happen.  Finally the weather settled down, as did we.  We developed a lovely routine of basically lying round the pool on a sunbed, lunch, lying on a sunbed again, and then John my husband would go off late afternoon for some snorkling while I would go back to our appartment for another lie down to get out of the heat.  The day would finish with drinks on our balcony, before going out for a meal, and back to the bar for drinks with all the lovely people we met - bliss!  I took some sewing with me, but didn`t take if out of the bag.  I read lots of books and generally we just chilled out.  We were very lazy, and hardly saw any of the island, although one day we went to Ithika a small island nearby and where Madonna has a villa, lucky her.  Anyway enough about that!

I think we have said that  we are going to Malvern at the end of October, so our next task is to start to get ready for that.  We are hoping to launch some kits which we have been working on, we just have to get our act together.  I have a feeling I might need a kick start. 

Just before I went away we recieved a delivery of some lovely Michael Miller fabrics, no photographs I`m afraid, but they are very bright and contemporary, but with a slight retro feel to them, if that makes sense!

The weekend before I went  we went to a lovely exhibition at Come 2 Quilt. If you want to know more about it look on Stitcherydo, Shirley has written about it with lots of lovely photographs.  It was a really lovely exhibition, and we were made to feel very welcome.  We met lots of our lovely friends and customers there, and quite a few new people as well.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Our First Birthday

It`s back to me writing the blog again this week as Debby is busy doing important things on the computer, like getting the accounts ready for the accountant, and working on the website.  I have had the easy bit for the website as I have taken the photographs and Debby is doing whatever it is she has to do before they go to Mel the lovely lady who is actually building the website for us.  I have taken loads of photographs and have one more lot left to do on Monday.  It has been very difficult because of the lighting in the shop, and they aren`t brilliant, but it`s still easier than Debby`s job.  I shouldn`t go on about it really because I feel very guilty that Debby is the one who is doing all this.  She tried to show me what she was doing the other day, but I just don`t have a clue what she is talking about most of the time.  I know I will have to learn how to do it, and I will, it`s just going to take a little longer than she thought!  Heaven help Mel when she trains us, or me at least.

We have had a fairly eventful week as we celebrated our first year of trading on the 1st September which was exciting.  We were rather overwhelmed by the response of our customers, we had cards, and even flowers!  Lots of people came into the shop to say hello which was great.  We told everybody that there would be tea, coffee and cake, which there was, but there were so many people that we kept forgetting to offer them any - sorry Pat!
If I am being fair, Debby was on her own in the morning as I was at our regular Thursday morning class - we had plenty of time for cake and tea.

It`s been an interesting first year, hard work, but much more enjoyable than my old teaching job.  I did enjoy working with the students, but I had less and less time with them because of the volume of the paperwork.  I felt I had become more of a manager than a teacher. I never mind taking work home with my new job, but I certainly did when I was teaching. Really the only thing I really miss is the salary!  My life is much less stressful now.  Debby is a much calmer person than me, and I must drive her mad at times.  I still don`t seem to have time to do everything I want to, but that`s because I have so many ideas buzzing around in my head for new projects.  At the moment I am trying to finish bags for the workshop in October.  They are all cut out and ready to stitch, and they will be in the shop next week.  They absolutely have to be completed before I go on my holiday!  I have also got some Christmas projects that I need to complete, because if I don`t do them now they will never get done!  The busier the shop gets the less time we both have, which is great, but doesn`t leave enough time for everything else.  We have made some lovely new friends, who have become loyal customers, and met some really interesting people since we opened.   We have introduced the craft to new people who are now addicted - they know who they are!

Finally I must show you another  photograph of the fabric cake that Debby made for our window.  A few weeks ago Martin from the carpet shop down the road, who started trading on the same day as us and asked what we were going to do to celebrate, and we said we weren`t sure. He came up with the idea of making a cake.  When I told Debby she embraced the idea wholeheartedly which is just as well, because I really didn`t have a clue where to start, and below are the results, which I am sure you will all agree with me are great.  I can bake cakes, but I`m rubbish when it comes to decorating them.  In another life Debby belonged to a sugarcraft group, and decorates cakes beautifully. It`s amazing what you can do with a bit of calico, suffolk puffs and circular cake tins!

Back to normal again next week.  Once again thank you everyone for the loyalty and support you have shown us, it is much appreciated.  Hope you all have a lovely weekend - weather permitting!

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Nearly normal

Not sure if its good or bad news but I am nearly back to normal, still not able to drive the car which is frustrating but probably easier for Joan who drives much slower than I do and I have probably frightened her to death for the last year when I have arrived at her house late and whizzed up the motorway at break neck speed.

My very patient husband has been my taxi driver for the last four weeks and I think he has just about had enough, he is practically throwing me out of the car in the mornings.
On Thursday we will have been open for a year which is amazing and it has gone so quickly, I think we have worked much harder than we did when teaching but the enjoyment factor has been far better.  So we are having a special day on Thursday - if you spend more than £20 you get 10% off, if you spend over £10 you will automatically be entered into a raffle.  Prizes include a Moda quilt kit, a free workshop or a voucher for £10. There will also be tea, coffee and cake so it would be lovely to see you. Our new workshop list is also ready so if you haven't received it via email there will be copies in the shop.
Last week I was on my own which was a shock, not used to working a six day week.  During the week I had a visit from Alan (one of the reps) who has been quite ill recently so it was a surprise to see him, he also arrived on a Wednesday not a Thursday (which is our agreed day as Joan is in and my lack of self control with regard to spending can be double checked) so when he asked if I wanted to look in his car boot I thought it would be rude not to especially as he has been unwell and we haven't seen him for a long time. Luckily he didn't have very much left so I didn't spend an absolute fortune but still got persuaded to buy two rolls of oil cloth type fabric which Joan and I had agreed we would not stock - oops.

I also met Anne Marie who had travelled over from Holland with her family - not just to see us, she was in Devon on holiday but took the time to visit the shop.  She and her daughter were lovely. Her poor husband was very patient and after a while I suggested he might want to go to 'Steptoe's Yard'  which is a local junk yard and not called that anymore but I don't know the name. He left for quite a while, when he came back they were still choosing fabric.  As she was leaving she left Joan and I a lovely tissue holder made in dutch fabric which Joan has already photographed - what a lovely lady/family.

We are now desperately trying to get all the fabric on to our new website, we had no idea how long it would take and so far we have got 76 listed only another 300+ to go so I don't think it is going to be up and running in time for our anniversary. 

Yesterday Joan had left a message on the phone to say that yet more fabric had arrived, goodness knows where we are going to put it as we are already using the floor as shelving.

So we look forward to seeing you all this week and if you see someone walking up the street from one side of the pavement to the other looking like she is way over the limit don't panic but if you see her driving a car really panic.


Monday, 22 August 2011

Out and About

Debby is slowly getting better, but still can`t walk in a straight line, and is having to keep on the medication to stop her from feeling sick.  I was so concerned about her that I took the week off!  I did turn up for the Wednesday night class at West Buckland, and also took my usual class at Rockwell Green on Thursday morning,  but apart from that you couldn`t see me for dust.  I think I might have said that my daughter was coming down with the grandchildren on the Wednesday, and of course I started to come down with a cold, she was recovering from a horrible virus which came back to haunt her for a couple of days, so it served me right really.  Despite the fact that we felt a bit rough for a couple of days and it rained, we still managed to have a good time.  We went up to the Quantocks on Friday and had a lovely picnic which we had just finished when it started to rain again.  We decided to go over to Nether Stowey, I have lived in Taunton since the 1970`s and never been, and was very pleasantly surprised there are some beautiful old buildings, which is why I suppose it was made a conservation area.  We were really just killing time until our picnic had settled down so we could go over to The Stables at Triscombe for a cream tea.  If you have never been there, and get the chance you must go.  The sun was shining,  the views are great, we sat in the garden and stuffed ourselves with scones, clotted cream and jam - what more could you want!

On Sunday we took ourselves off for another picnic this time to Wimbleball Reservoir near Wiveliscombe.  Its a lovely place, there is a 9 mile walk around the reservoir which we obviously didn`t do, but which I have in the past, and to tell you the truth, I am amazed I lived to tell the tale!  There`s  lots of space to picnic and run around, sailing on the reservoir, a fantastic play area, lovely woodland walks, and of course toilets!  Georgia my grandaughter was in her element along with grandad, but Charlie at 3 months was rather more laid back about the whole affair. Their dad was in Amsterdam, and no he wasn`t on a stag `do` as everyone thought, but actually taking part in a world championship athletic meeting in which he was competing in a double decathlon - I mean how mad do you have to be to do that!  He got off to an amazing start by winning his first race, the 100 metres, but unfortunately he went downhill after that.  He went with a friend who has spent the last five years taking part in any world championship that he can.  He has been all around the country and had a great time and attended various championships such as crazy golf, nettle eating,and snail racing to name but a few.  I`ve no idea why he did it, but this weekend was the last one he is going to do.  I gather they were absolutely shattered at the end of the three days, but pleased that they completed all events.  I have yet to hear where they were placed.

As you can imagine I didn`t get much sewing done last week, so need to get down to some serious sewing this week.  I had made two dresses for Georgia, but needless to say forgot to take any photographs of them.  She was very pleased with them, and trust me, if she didn`t like them she would have told me.  I had also made Charlie a little quilt/mat which I was rather pleased with.  I used the new Moda Farmyard fabric which I showed you a few weeks ago.  I took this photograph about 7.00am this morning, and my only excuse is I had just got up, I hadn`t even had a cup of tea, and John my husband had kept me awake for most of the night because he was coming down with the lurgy. It actually looks a lot nicer and brighter than the photograph.  It has already been christened, and I can tell you it washes well!

Although Debby wasn`t on top form last week it didn`t stop her buying some more fabric, Alan our Moda rep paid a visit and she bought two rolls of rather nice coated cotton, it isn`t really oil cloth, but it looks like it is, its much softer and easier to stitch.  I had a go at making a bag this afternoon just to see what it stitched like and I was quite pleased with the results, especially as the machine we have in the shop is quite old and can be quite tempermental at times.

.Last week we had a visit from Anne Marie from Holland, I was so disappointed that I missed her, especially as she had brought over a little gift for us both.  It was so kind of her, and we just love the fabric, it`s so Dutch!  They are lined with a red check, and its just what I need to put my tissues in, in my handbag, so thank you Anne Marie, and I hope you had a great holiday.

We had a visit today from a lovely lady from Dorchester, who came over especially, and another from Nottingham who was a lace maker, both found us on the internet which is always great to hear.  Its always very exciting when people have come some distance, especially when they say they will be back!

Debby and I plan to finally send out our workshop list this week.  We have had to re-arrange it slightly because of Anne`s illness.  Apologies if you have been waiting for it, but it is on it`s way.

Hope you all have a good week.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Favourite Fabrics

Debby has had this week off work.  It was supposed to be time to make up for being so poorly when she was on leave, but although she is a bit better, she is still not right - ill I mean!  The doctor has given her some different medication which has taken away the sickness, but she still feels funny walking.  Hopefully it will go away soon.

I have decided this week to show you some fabric.  At times I worry that if we show you too much, you will all just think we are trying to sell it to you, which of course we are, but don`t want to put you off or bore you!  However, one of the blogs I follow called Freda`s Hive has a Fabric Friday every week.  She doesn`t sell fabric, but just shows you what she has, often with different themes.  She must have loads, because each week she shows lots and lots, and I love most of them.  I always enjoy is, so thought I would show you a couple of my favourite fabrics, but only a couple!

These are part of a collection of trees.  The collection is called Lovely Orchard and is designed by Suling Wang for Camelot Cottons.  When Debby and I ordered this we thought it would just fly out of the shop, but it doesn`t sell very well.  We have moved it around the shop, I have made things out of it, lots of people comment on it, but still it doesn`t sell!  However, I love it.

This collection is called Woodland by Lori Mason for RJR.  This is slightly more popular than Lovely Orchard, but again hasn`t sold as well as we thought it would.  I think it has quite a Japanese feel to it, and I love the colours.  Perhaps my taste isn`t as good as I thought it was!

We have had a new delivery from Makower this week, which  I think has a shabby chic feel to it.  We have some rather nice stripe fabric which looks like ticking, and some of these would look really good appliqued on to it.

We have also taken delivery of some apron panels ready to cut out which were featured in Sew Hip recently.

Enough about fabric or I will be in danger of sounding like an advertisement.  Last week we had another Beginner`s Workshop, and once again everyone produced a lovely piece of work.  I didn`t taken any photographs this week, but it amazes me how different the cushions can look in all the different fabrics.  This time we had bright, traditional and quirky.  Everyone coped with putting in a zip, something which scares a lot of people, but which I think makes such a difference to the finish.

We heard this week that Anne Baxter who teaches on quite a few of our classes had a stroke last week.  She is OK, but has to rest.  She is a lovely lady and very popular with everyone, so we hope she gets better soon.
We are re-jigging our workshop programme and changing a few dates and themes, while she is getting better, so will send the September - December list out as soon as we can.

Toni, one our regular customers, organises craft fairs.  She is very particular about only selling things that people have made themselves. I don`t know about you, but |I get fed up of going to fairs, and then find that half the items for sale have been  imported.  If anyone is interested in taking a stand at any of her fairs, if you would like to contact us then we will put you in touch with her.  She was telling me today that her partner has put up a large shed for her to use as a workroom.  She was going home today to start painting the inside and telling me all her plans for it - I am very envious, I have always fancied a shed to work in - very Country Living, except mine would end up looking like a pig sty in about a week, but at least I could close the door on it and leave all the mess at the bottom of the garden!

It`s interesting how other people work, Shirley from Stitcherydo has just completed a workroom in her spare room, which looked too tidy for my liking, but she tells me it won`t stay like that.  Another blogger that I follow, Comfort Stitching does her stitching in her sitting room quite often sitting on her sofa at the coffee table.  I really could not do that, but then I am lucky that I have a room to sew, and another room to put all my stuff in, but rest assured you will not be seeing any photographs of either of them.  I am deeply ashamed of both, but particularly the room where everything is stored.  If my mum was ever allowed to see it she would be very ashamed of me.  Debby tut tuts at me when she is in the shop, but I have to say she is just as bad as me, and I tut tut at her, we are both as bad as each other.  Once a year I have a really good sort out, and tell myself everything will go back exactly where it came from, and it will not get in a mess.  This lasts a few weeks, and then I revert to type.  Another of our customers Sandy told me this week that she has sorted out her spare room and has space for her sewing machine and a cutting table, but puts the ironing board up downstairs in the kitchen so that every time she wants to press anything she has to go downstairs, but tells me the exercise does her good!

Thats it for another week.  I have a few days off as my daughter is coming with the children,  although I will still be at our classes.  Hopefully Debby will be better, and we hope that Anne is on the mend.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

A day out

Yet another week has gone by, where does the time go to?  Debby came back to work on Tuesday, not sure she should have done really, but she was adamant, if you could see her walk, you would understand my concern!

I had a day out on Tuesday.  Apple County Quilters had organised a visit to Launceston, and asked me if I would like to go, of course I said yes, I`m all for days out.  We went to Cowslip in the morning, which was inspirational, what a lovely place to visit.  After a very nice lunch, we then went into Launceston itself where there was an Exhibition by The Flowerpatch Quilters.  Unfortunately I didn`t take my camera, so can`t show you any of the lovely quilts.  Shirley from Stitcherydo took her camera, and I wouldn`t be surprised to find some photographs on her next blog, although I don`t know.  I was fascinated to see someone had made the same quilt I am making for Georgia my grandaughter, and it gave me a few ideas for the quilting.  I thought I was about half way through the quilting, but having seen this I would say I have a lot more to do.  I haven`t managed much quilting - it`s just been too warm.  I do most of my quilting by hand, and you don`t really want a quilt on your lap in this weather!   It was lovely to see lots of faces I knew, plus meet some new people. 

We started our new class last night at West Buckland.  Debby still wasn`t feeling great, and Anne McLaren (sorry if I have spelt your surname wrong Anne) offered to act as a runner for her, thank you Anne.  Debby was in one hall with the patchwork and quilting ladies, and I went in another room with the dressmakers.  Everything seemed to be going very well when suddenly the lights went out!  It turned out it wasn`t just the hall but the whole village.  Luckily it being August, it wasn`t  too dark, so we managed to soldier on, but of course there was no machining or tea or coffee.  A few people have contacted us since so say they enjoyed themselves, which was good to hear. 

Today we had a new rep visit us, and we have now ordered some Michael Miller fabrics which are bright and vibrant, some decent machine needles, and at last some templates which we have had quite a problem finding.
We have decided to stock Hobbs wadding as we are often asked for it.  Despite Debby feeling off colour she perked up considerably when we started to look at fabric, but when we had finished, it was like someone had deflated her - she really is very sad!

Finally I am going to show you one picture this week.  Sandra who comes to our class on a Thursday morning, completed this small sampler quilt a couple of weeks ago. This was her first attempt at patchwork and quilting, and as usual my photography does the work no justice at all, but it is lovely.  She is now working on a jelly roll quilt having done a workshop with Debby, and there is no stopping her!

Have a good week.

Thursday, 28 July 2011


Its been really busy in the shop this week, which is good because last week was very quiet.  Surprisingly we have had a lot of customers who are in the area on holiday.  Some have just come across us, and others knew we were here already.  Debby is still poorly, having had tonsillitos she now has a nasty ear infection which is giving her vertigo.  She has missed the arrival of the Christmas fabric, two big boxes.  I looked at them for about two hours because I just didn`t know where to put it all.  I finally pulled myself together and had a big sort out to make room for it.  I haven`t taken any photographs because the charge on my camera had run out, a bit like the charge in me by the time I had finished!  I am still amazed at how many people have been asking for it, and I`ve already sold quite a bit.  One husband today informed me how many weeks there were to Christmas, but I don`t want to think about it so have blanked it out, and will continue to do so until about half way through November, although of course I am happy to sell the fabric to anyone who wants to buy it!

I have decided this week to tell you all a little about Wellington and show you some photographs of our little town.  Apologies to anyone who lives here because you will know it all, and will certainly know what the town looks like, although I have to say my photographs do not do the town any justice at all.  We are amazed at how many people have found our blog from all over the UK, and this week, I had an email from Anne-Marie in Holland which caused great excitement, we are looking forward to meeting her when she comes over in August.

Wellington is a small market town.  Lots of the buildings are Georgian including our shop, which has a cellar that we don`t use.  Debby refuses to go down there, and I hate heights - if you saw the vertical steps down to it you would understand what I mean.  It has a beautiful 15th century church, and some rather substantial buildings some of  which are home to the four big banks.  Lloyds Bank used to be Foxes, and was the last private bank in England to issue their own bank notes - what a claim to fame.  There used to be several woollen mills in the town including Foxes which is still there albeit on a much smaller scale.  Foxes make wonderful woollen fabrics, and you can go to the factory shop to buy them.  A group of my friends have just completed a quilt made of the fabric, which has gone to the NEC for the quilt show, so look out for it.  Debby Meaden from Dragons Den has recently become involved with the factory which has in recent years had financial problems.  Our accountant has her offices in the old Counting House on the factory site, which I just love.  Relyon beds also have a factory in the town.

I am sure most of you have heard of the Duke of Wellington, and apparently he took his name from the town, but I have no idea why.  We have a small museum over the road from us, and one day I will hopefully find the time to go over and find out the answer. 

Wellington Musuem
Because it is a small market town, there are not lots of multi national`s on the High Street, apart from the usual W H Smiths, Boots, Superdrug, plus a small Co-op.  There is a small Waitrose in the town, which I know brings people into town.  Most of the shops however are small independents.  There are quite a few empty shops like most High Streets these days,  in fact we have one next to us, and just a couple of doors away there is a large unit which used to be Woolworths.  However, there is a new curtain shop opening next month, and there have been others since we have been there. 

This is our favourite coffee shop.  Unfortunately Martina who owns it is leaving to go and live in Monaco (have I spelt that right?)  She has been so kind to us since we opened the shop and we shall really miss her.  We have met Tracey who has bought the business from her and she intends to carry on the way it is now, so Debby will be able to have her coffee with soya milk, and I can still treat myself to Tiffin!

This shop is Paprika and is almost opposite us.  They sell lovely gifts, most of them Fair Trade.  There is another very good gift shop round the corner opposite the Chocolate Box called Frame of Mind, but the photograph I took was so terrible it could not go in this blog!  To the left is our bank, which is great, because we can see when the doors open in the morning and close in the afternoon.  We can also see what the queue is like inside, so can time our visits so we don`t have to queue

This is such a lovely building I couldn` leave it out.  To the left is the opticians, but the rest is a shop called Nurtered by Nature. which sells all sorts of things, lot of Fair Trade again, clothes cosmetics, world music, just to name a few.

 I have included this picture because it is the Fishmongers.  Last year there was a programme on BBC3 called the Young Fishmonger of the year, and the man that owns the shop either came first of second, I can`t remember which, but people come from all over the place to shop there.

This building used to be the Town Offices (I think) but it is looking rather sad now, and although there are retail units in it, most of them are empty.  It`s a pity because its a nice building.

I have included this building just because I like it!  I`m not sure if it is still the Conservative Club.  Next to it on the left is The Garden Cafe.

This lovely brick building is to the right of the Conservative Club and again I think it is a beautiful building.  It is a hairdressers at the moment, and in the basement there is a bar, which I am told is very good, but I am never in Wellington in the evening, so I have yet to find out.

This isn`t a great photograph, and in fact it was bin day, so there is rubbish outside the bank, but this is Lloyds which I mentioned earlier.  A bit further on  the left is a fantastic ironmongers called Perrys which sells everything you can think of.  You don`t find many shops like it any more.  I asked the other day if they sharpened scissors, and they had someone that they send them to.

This road is a bit further along from Dotty Dolly and is the road out of town heading South.  the blue building on the left used to be a pub, but is now a Bed and Breakfast.

I could have taken lots more photographs, but lots of places were having deliveries and the lorries were in the way.  You may have noticed that there is very little traffic, this is rush hour in Wellington or 8.30am at any rate!   It is also the first week of the school holidays.   One shop I wanted to show you was the butchers.  I wanted to take a photograph of the sign above the shop - Tim Potter, son and daughter.  They really do all work in there, and I believe Mrs. Potter does the paperwork.  It`s a great butchers and there are always queues.  They know where all the meat has come from, and they have been known to deliver to me when they haven`t got it ready when I go in early in the morning.

There are three shoe shops none of which I have photographed, an artisan bakers and a fantastic cheese and wine shop - called you have guessed it The Cheese and Wine Shop.  There is also a good little Bookshop, and several excellent Charity Shops and Steptoes as everyone calls it.  Basically they do house clearances amongst other things, and we watch people all day with their purchases going past our shop,including sofas and beds.  Haberdashery Plus is another of our favourites, .Beryl who owns it sells practically anything you can think of in the Haberdashery line,  and very little of it is pre-packed.  She also sells flowers which are always outside the shop - her son has a nursery, but best of all free range eggs which are from her grandson`s hens.  He marks in pencil the day the eggs were laid, and they are delicious.  Oh and I nearly forgot to mention her homemade jam!

Finally I must mention our landlords Helen and Jim who own the newsagents next door.  They are getting quite a reputation for the large range of craft magazines they sell.  I try to stop Debby going in when the Austrialian magazines arrive, but it`s to no avail, I think she has built in radar

Thats it for another week.  It would be so nice if you left a comment.  I know lots of people read this, but sometimes we feel like we are writing it for ourselves.  It`s always lovely when people come into the shop and comment on something they have read on the blog, but it would be even better if they left a comment!

Have a good week.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

More Fabric again!

Moda  Farm Yard

I just think I have cracked this blogging lark, and then I go and make another stupid mistake.  This time I managed to post it without including the photographs, so here goes -
Moda French General Fa-la-la-la-la - you have to look really hard to see it`s a Christmas Fabric!

Borders now added, ready to put together to quilt.

More Fabric

Its been a busy few days, hence we didn`t get round to writing the blog last week.  Debby has been off galivanting again including a trip to Cardiff to see James Taylor - reliving her youth no doubt!  She said he was really good.  I think I mentioned that last week she went on a hen day to Dartmouth and had a champagne breakfast on the river.  When I asked her if she had had a good time she said she had, and she had now apologised to everyone.  She doesn`t drink, but I think it might have had something to do with all those lovely naval cadets down there and perhaps not being as grown up as expected.  Although she did point out that she was hardly going to jump in the water and swim after them!  That probably sounds worse than it was.  She also forgot to take her inhaler, and once on dry land had to spend some time looking for a doctor`s surgery that would give her a prescription to get another one.  I in the mean time was working away in the shop, and haven`t done anything exciting at all!  She is now laid low with tonsillitos (think I may have spelt that wrong, so apologies), and is really rather poorly.

We have had a couple more fabric deliveries this last week.  The first lot arrived, and I thought it must be the Christmas fabric, but it wasn`t.  Instead we received part of a Moda collection called `Farmyard`.  When I first saw it I couldn`t believed we had ordered it, and yes we did order it together, so I can`t blame Debby.  In actual fact I love the colours, and its really rather quirky.  It would make a lovely rug for outside, so I keep telling myself, when I will ever get round to making it is a different matter altogether.

Today another delivery arrived, and yes this time it was some Christmas fabric, it was another Moda fabric fro French General called Fa-la-la-la-la.  When I first looked at it I thought well this isn`t Christmas fabric, but on looking closer I discovered that one bolt which has text on it had little holly leaves, so I would say it`s a very grown up Christmas fabric, so we are still waiting for the bling.  I`m beginning to think Debby didn`t order as much as she thought she had, and we keep getting people in asking for Christmas fabric, if only I were organised enough to start thinking about Christmas.

I spent a large part of the weekend getting my grand daughters quilt ready to start quilting it took me ages, but I was very pleased with the final result.  Last night I started to lay it all out, and then discovered I didn`t have enought spray left in the can, so I had to put it away again, hopefully I will be able to do it tonight.

Well I think that`s it for this week, as I said it`s been busy, but not much to tell you all.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

We have had quite a busy week here in Dotty Dolly world.  Debby met lots of South West Quilters last Saturday, and thoroughly enjoyed herself, she told me lots about it, but I can`t have been concentrating because I can`t remember anything she told me!  While she was there I was teaching on a Beginner`s Workshop over at Rockwell Green.  Although it was a beginner`s day there were lots of different levels.  Nina was most definately not a beginner, and produced a lovely cushion cover from her Japanese prints.  Jacquie was a stitcher, but had never attempted patchwork before.  Rachel is often in the shop and put together a really great blue and cream quilt top, I`m looking forward to seeing what the finished quilt looks like.  Francoise was a beginner and made a cushion cover. She brought along a couple of her books which were in French, one of which we have in the shop in English `Quilting In No Time` by Emma Hardy.  There are lots of really good simple projects in the book and several of the others took down the details.  Tip put together a quilt top in greys and reds, and Mandy who has never even used a sewing machine before just about put  a quilt top together for her little girl in pretty florals.   I expect she has finished it now.  They were a lovely bunch, and I think we all enjoyed ourselves, I hope so!

Jacquie`s spots
Nina`s Japanese theme
Rachel`s Blue
Tip`s soft greys, pinks and red
Mandy`s contemporary floral, she didn`t quite finish the sashing
Bright`s from Francoise

I look forward to seeing the the quilts when they are completed!

Debby went to Somerset County Quilters on Monday night where the guest speaker was Ferret.  If you haven`t come across her before she has a really good blog.  Debby said her work was amazing, so much so that she emailed her the next day to see if she might do a workshop for us at some time.  She will be coming back next year, so watch this space.
Robyn Pandolph`s Scarborough Fair

Blue Hill Fabrics.  There are some reds in the collection, but I couldn`t fit them all in
We have had a couple more fabric deliveries this week.  I particularly like the Scarborough Fair collection although having lived in Scarborough as a girl, I don`t think Robyn Pandolph can ever have been there, or felt a cold North East wind  even in summer, because if she had these would not be the colours she would work with!

We often get customers in the shop who make the comment that they don`t want their husbands to see what they have bought or how much they have spent, and usually other customers sympathise and agree, this tends to be the norm.  One day this week, we had a whole day of customers coming in with their husbands, who were all absolutely delightful, who waited patiently while their wives pondered over the fabric, and then put their hands in their pockets and paid for the fabrics, quite large amounts in a couple of cases, where did the rest of us go wrong?  My husband wouldn`t even come in a fabric shop, which is fine by me because I wouldn`t want him to see what I am spending either!

Met an interesting lady yesterday in the shop.  I think her name was Angela, she has just moved to Wellington from Torquay and was telling me about her blog theenglishromantic.blogspot.com.  I had a look last night and she makes some lovely things with a vintage feel.

Got a family day tomorrow, son and daughter-in-law are back having been to a wedding near Frome yesterday, and daughter and son-in-law are also coming with the grandchildren.  Really looking forward to seeing little Charlie who is now 5 weeks old, and of course Georgia his big sister. Off out for a meal tonight and in the kitchen tomorrow.  I feel chained to the kitchen this week.  I got carried away down our allotment picking beetroot to make chutney, but ended up with about 10 jars of beetroot chutney and 5 of pickled beetroot, I am going to be giving quite a bit away, and there is still loads down there.  Debby is gadding about, she went to see Jimmy Carr last night, and is out for dinner tonight.  We will both be back to the grind next week, although Debby is still gadding about on Tuesday on a hen day, I think down to Totnes, on the river - it`s alright for some.

On Monday our 10% off sale will be over.  Debby and I have decided we need to make some new cushion samples, so we will be getting rid of quite a few of our old ones - and we are hoping customers will adopt one for £10.00!