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, 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!     .