Posts Tagged ‘Volkswagen’

Exciting stuff is happening! And there’s the promise of some very busy times ahead at the Bully Bus Manufactory!

Recently, I became a features writer for UK Handmade; It’s kept me working hard for the last month or so and I have to say I’m enjoying the new role and the challenges it brings. I’m writing fortnightly articles for a series called ‘The Road Less Travelled’ (something I’ve been featured in myself many moons ago) which celebrates the stories behind the people who’ve left normal, nine to five careers far behind them to pursue a creative path and build their own businesses. It’s very inspiring; Everyone’s story is different – No journey is ever the same.

You can read the latest interview here or wait until Saturday 29th March, 2014 for the next article to be published.

Then there’s an invitation I recently received to become a participant in the Festival of Thrift’s, ‘School of Thrift’ project…….

John Orchard, Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway - Part of the driving force behind the Festival of Thrift.

John Orchard, Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway – Part of the driving force behind the Festival of Thrift.

The festival itself launched in 2013 over the weekend of 27th/28th September, at Lingfield Point, Darlington and made a big impact both regionally and nationally with 27,000 visitors (17,000 more than expected), pouring through the gates – All eager to see what the UK’s first ever Festival of Thrift was about.

And if you were one of the people that attended you would have seen examples of sewing, dancing, foraging, playing, music-making, hula-hooping, theatre, gardening, upcycling, eating, bargain-hunting, learning, oven-making, quilting, baking, crafting – and plenty of inspiring talks on sustainable topics also taking place.

The Festival Of Thrift - Build it and they will come!

The Festival Of Thrift – Build it and they will come!


The idea behind the festival was to bring a free cultural celebration to the people of the North East, the UK and beyond, where people could find the fun in learning how to reuse, recycle/upcycle and ultimately save money and benefit the environment.

Wayne Hemingway of Red or Dead.

Wayne Hemingway of Red or Dead.

The fantastic team behind last year’s accomplishment, Co-Curators Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway, Festival Director Stella Hall and John Orchard, a Director of Marchday, the owners of Lingfield Point, are back in full force for 2014 with dates set for the same weekend in September.

Wayne said: “The success of last year proves even further that thrift is not just a flash in the pan but a set of values applied to the way you live your life.

Thrift has become a vital, contemporary movement reflecting traditional values, and it’s evolving each day as our needs and the needs of our planet change.

What we found last year is that thrift provides a community and a reason for people to get together – from families who want a free, fun day out with fantastic entertainment, food and activities to those who are looking to learn new skills whilst saving money and contributing positively to the planet as they’re doing it

The Festival of Thrift is an apt response to the economic climate and can play a positive and uplifting role in helping folk to navigate their way through times of low disposable income. I’m delighted it’s back for a second year and I hope it makes even more of an impact this time round.”


And the ‘School of Thrift’ ? What’s that all about?

The School of Thrift is a network of bloggers that support the principles behind the Festival of Thrift. Basically the aim is to create a really fun, thrifty, online community for people to be a part of and go to for advice, tips and tricks and find folks like me ready to share my wonderful wisdom with everyone. (I didn’t come up the ‘wonderful wisdom’ thing btw – Credit must be given to the bods behind the project for that little gem).

So what do I do? What can you expect from me?

Business as usual basically 😉 I’ll occasionally post content written specifically with the School of Thrift in mind – hints, tips, tutorials, recipes etc – The same kind of thing I’ve been doing for the last few years really……..  I’m delighted to say that my blog has been described by the team back at ‘FOT SOT’ base camp as ‘right up their street’ – So there’s no real change planned for the approach to how I work or the kinds of things that I’ll be posting – Business very much as usual 😉

I’m really looking forward to taking part!

The Fetival of Thrift - Campervan friendly!

The Festival of Thrift – Campervan friendly!


For more information on the Festival of Thrift 2014 programme please visit the website at and sign up for updates.

More information about the School of Thrift and current participants can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+


And Finally! I’m also going to be a guest designer for Handmade Harbour. MORE exciting stuff! If you’ve not paid a visit to either the website or blog then you’re in for a real treat…… there’s beautiful digital stamps and downloadable papers etc to purchase at very reasonable prices, tutorials, sewing patterns, papercraft challenges, freebies and ooodles more!

And there’s campervans! Lots of reasons to make a visit asap 😉

So this week I purchased a lovely little Handmade Harbour splitty design to use in assorted projects and also took advantage of a brilliant egg cosy tutorial that Josie of ‘Sewforsoul‘ had recently posted……

You can find the full tutorial here. I love Josie’s work – She’s a fellow lover of vintage fabrics and an accomplished freemotion machine embroidery, crafting type person; I suspect we have very similar tastes in many things……….. Maybe she could join the School of Thrift too 😉

And my egg cosy?


I think I’m going to make one in every colour of the rainbow – A different coloured cosy for every day of the week. What a brilliant way to start each day 😉






Oooh! The Bully Bus Manufactory is packed to the rafters with festive fabrics, ribbons, trimmings, sequins and tiny little jingle bells. It can mean only one thing; This year’s batch of Christmas decorations is FINALLY underway………….. and they’re more gorgeous than ever before!!!!!

We're all been given away completely FREE!!!!!!

We’re all been given away completely FREE!!!!!!

And the good news is that this set of six of the holiday season’s finest, once sewn up and each given a little ribbon loop for hanging, are going to be given away absolutely FREE to one very lucky person!!!!

So what do you have to do to be in with a chance of seeing them gracing your gorgeous tree come Christmas Day? Simple really! Just visit my website and add your name to the mailing list. That’s it; That is all!

I know, I know! I said a few years back that I’d given up on my website in favour of all things in the Blogosphere but so many people have asked me over the last few months if I’m online that I’ve finally caved in to the mounting pressure and opened the website back up – Albeit clearing everything out and starting again from scratch!

It’s far from finished. Since July I’ve made it my mission to add at least one new item each day – whether it’s to create a page, add a photo or set up a shop listing and slowly, but surely, things have begun to take shape until I’ve reached a point where I feel happy to share it with the whole wide world!!!!

So that’s where you come in 😉

Please feel free to share the link with family, friends etc :

On the home page there’s an option to join the mailing list – Anyone that adds their name to this from 16th October – 31st October 2013 will automatically be entered into a prize draw where one name will be picked out at random on November 1st to win the luvverly tree decs!!!

And what happens once the draw is over? That’s simple too – Your contact details stay with me; They won’t ever be shared with a third party. From time to time you’ll receive an email in your inbox in the form of a little newsletter highlighting new products, events and further freebies or discount offers. But definitely no spam; No inbox full of inane drivel from a slightly loopy lass in a camper van (I’ll save that for this blog, lol)  and no hard selling!!!! 😉

So? What are you waiting for?

Happy Wednesday Folks!!!!!!! And Good Luck!!!!!

There were some great rides at LVW Fest as usual, with a significant representation from the water cooled community. Lots of old favourites and a few new ones thrown in for good measure.

Here’s a few that caught my eye…….

Pristine paintwork on a gorgeous monochromatic splitty.


You can’t beat a classic Caddy! And I was drooling over this one 😉

Nice paintwork…

Naff content but I think most of the boy racers would vote it rear of the year (AGAIN!!!!!)

Another drool worthy option…….

This time it was Mr Other Half’s turn to get excited: He misses his souped up Caddy sooooooo much!

Lulabelle – Compact catering from a classic Splitty 🙂

This one makes me smile because it reminds me of many hours spent handling an angle grinder on my early bay 😉

Ratty Late Bay


The water cooled community was very much in evidence at this year’s show.

I love this!!!!

Scoobified Caddy; Yum!

All lined up and looking for new owners……..

Looks familiar! Billy the Bulli sporting the latest hi-tech waterproofing solution – chromework that caught the eye of many a passer by judging by the amount of people who stopped to take a photograph 😉

Phew! We’re back in one piece but in desperate need of a nice hot bath after four days of hard core camping.

A quick set up of the tent on Thursday…

The trade tent; Bursting at the seams with fabulous goodies as usual 😉

Followed by a nice relaxing walk around the grounds of Harewood House the following morning to look at the birds and admire the gardens…

The Courtyard at Harewood House; A great place to grab a cup of coffee and a nice slice of cake.

All finished off by a bite to eat in the Courtyard…

Lemon drizzle cake for me; Coffee & Walnut for Mr Other Half 🙂

It was a great weekend with lots of new faces and a fair few familiar ones stopping by to say ‘Hello!’ ; A fantastic bunch of folks as usual 😉

Now that bath of mine is just about ready……… more piccies to follow tomorrow 😉

I’m a Lancashire lass that lives in the heart of Yorkshire; From the lofty heights of the Bramley hill that our house was built on there’s a good view of the surrounding area, including a place just over the way called Rombald’s Moor. And nestled at the foot of this moor is a little town called Ilkley.

Billy the Bulli at the Cow and Calf Rocks, Ilkley.

After addressing recent symptoms of van flu Mr Other Half decided that Billy the Bulli needed a bit of a run out – just to make sure that all was truly well in the engine bay. So Ilkley Moor (an area of the larger Rombald’s Moor), and home of the famous Cow and Calf rocks, was our destination for the day.

A light packed lunch.

Billy’s kitchen isn’t quite so well equipped as Vince Bully Bus’.

Happily, Mr OH is a bit of a whizz with all things VW and Billy performed exceptionally well without a hitch; even a rather long and steep road that formed part of our ascent was no match for our trusty little bulli 😉

Billy has a rest in the car park whilst me and Mr OH tackle a short climb up to the top of the ‘cow’.

The Cow and Calf or Hangingstone rocks are so called because one is big and the other small – rather like a mother cow and its baby. Yorkshire folk certainly don’t mince their words when it comes to calling a spade a spade, but I much prefer the local legend of a giant named Rombald, who split the stones whilst fleeing from his angry wife – surely that tale has a certain ring of truth about it; either way, it makes for a much more exciting explanation than the scientific fact that the rocks are actually just glacial debris left over from the last Ice Age.

The Cow and Calf.

The rocks are a form of sandstone known as Millstone Grit; most are covered with carved inscriptions from previous visitors to the area – a tradition that has seemingly existed for thousands of years with Rombald’s Moor containing the second highest concentration of ancient carved stones in the whole of Europe.

19th Century carved inscriptions on the rocks.

A local soldier leaves his mark on one of the stones of Rombald’s Moor – whilst the Spa town of Ilkley (Olicana in Roman times) nestles quietly down below.

The Swastika Stone – Dating back to the late Neolithic Bronze Age

Old Crack & Rackety Jack – What magnificent names for someone’s cherished rides!

A bit of a moorland hike and gentle climb, one packed lunch of assorted sandwiches, two cups of coffee each and a rather nice ice cream cone dressed with a Cadbury’s Flake and chocolate sauce drizzles saw us eventually bid farewell to the scenes of our latest adventure. We had survived a romp on Ilkley moor without a hat – unlike Mary Jane’s suitor who succumbs to the worms through poor wardrobe choices if the famous Yorkshire anthem is anything to go by!

Yorkshire lyrics

Wheear ‘ast tha bin sin’ ah saw thee, ah saw thee?

On Ilkla Mooar baht ‘at
Wheear ‘ast tha bin sin’ ah saw thee, ah saw thee?
Wheear ‘ast tha bin sin’ ah saw thee?

On Ilkla Mooar baht ‘at
On Ilkla Mooar baht ‘at
On Ilkla Mooar baht ‘at
Tha’s been a cooartin’ Mary Jane
Tha’s bahn’ to catch thy deeath o` cowd
Then us’ll ha’ to bury thee
Then t’worms’ll come an` eyt thee up
Then t’ducks’ll come an` eyt up t’worms
Then us’ll go an` eyt up t’ducks
Then us’ll all ha’ etten thee
That’s wheear we get us ooan back

Where have you been since I last saw you, last saw you?

On Ilkley Moor without a hat
Where have you been since I last saw you, last saw you?
Where have you been since I last saw you?

On Ilkley Moor without a hat
On Ilkley Moor without a hat
On Ilkley Moor without a hat
You have been courting Mary Jane
You are bound to catch your death of cold
Then we will have to bury you
Then the worms will come and eat you up
Then the ducks will come and eat up the worms
Then we will go and eat up the ducks
Then we will have eaten you
That’s where we get our own back

Ilkley Moor – Be sure to take your hat!

The return journey home was equally hitch free and even saw us pulling up at a local ale house for the obligatory dust busting pint before finally tucking Billy up for the night in his cozy little garage; what a lucky little bulli he is!

Two pints of lager and a packet of Pork Scratchings please!

Now off to make a suitable hat should we return any time soon – hope the wrist can stand up to the challenge!

The doctor says I can craft again just as long as I take things easy – no sitting for hours on end crocheting little whimsies or working my way through miles of embroidery floss to stitch assorted treasures is allowed at the moment 😦 Ho Hum! And I’ve resolved to follow his advice and work for twenty minutes at a time, little and often as a result…… I now seem to have plenty of spare time on my hands!

Frothy spires of Astilbe against Hydrangeas – Everything in the garden is PINK!

So today I spent a few hours in the garden, initially with the intention of helping Mr Other Half with some essential maintenance of his ratty bus – Billy the Bulli. He’s a splitscreen bus that left the factory in Germany on the same day that Mr OH was born – October 11th, 1963; Spookily, he also entered the UK on October 11th a few years ago when we imported him over from Seattle – coincidences like this make us think that he was obviously fated to be in our lives from the day he was first created 😉

Billy the Bulli being lovingly tended by Mr Other Half – A constant labour of love!

Today was spent pulling out the engine in order to replace the flywheel seal and gland nut in the clutch before installing a new petrol tank and filter – essential jobs that needed to be addressed sooner rather than later as he’s been suffering from van flu for a good while now.

Apparently the gold coating is a good sign – To be fair I don’t know why though 😉

Happily, he’s now sorted again for the present time and we even had a few moments spare to adjust the handbrake on Vince, my flower covered T25  – ANOTHER job on an endless list of things to do …….

Anywhoo, van flu sorted I turned my attentions to the garden which looks glorious after the incredible drenching it’s sustained over the last few months! Everything is in bloom, the bees are buzzing happily amongst the myriad flowers and there’s an awful lot of pink outside Bully Bus HQ! It looks lovely – so I decided to cut a few blooms to take inside the house too….

Fresh cut flowers from the garden – A cheery sight 🙂

Aren’t they gorgeous? Mother Nature sure does a great job of providing us with plenty of inspiration – I intend to use this colour pallette in some of my future makes to remind me of a productive day spent in the great outdoors…… albeit a few hours in a flower filled garden in one of the many leafy suburbs of Leeds!

And the results of my little and often bouts of crafting for today? Snatched moments here and there spent crocheting a cute mascot for Billy’s dashboard – from a great little ninja pattern courtesy of Christen Haden.

Amigurumi Ninja – Pattern available in ‘Creepy Cute Crochet’ ISBN: 978-1-59474-232-3

In truth, my wrist hurts like hell again – so maybe the road to recovery isn’t quite within my sights just yet…….. 😦 Never mind – a few more days spent relaxing in the garden and enjoying the sunshine might be just the ticket………. We shall see!

The world and his wife seem to be going crazy for Shamballa bracelets; I kind of don’t get it. But, I do get loads of people asking me if I can make them, to which the answer is usually……, NO!

Shamballa Bracelet by

This week, due to the high number of requests that seemingly will not cease, and the fact that it’s coming up to festival season where they’ll probably fit in quite nicely with everything else I stock on the trade stand, I have finally decided to bow to the pressure and make macrame bead bracelets the subject of my crafting adventures.

First, to understand why people are going crazy for them….

Shops don't sell bracelets; Rapper's do!

Shamballa is apparently some hidden kingdom that’s been mentioned in lots of ancient Buddhist texts; It’s a place of peace, tranquility and happiness. Shamballa is also one of the bodie’s chakras and is located in the heart of all living beings. Apparently, the current craze for Shamballa bracelets and necklaces was brought about by the fact that assorted rap and hip hop artists have taken to wearing them because of their deep and hidden meanings and healing properties. This, in turn, has resulted in assorted celebrity names also jumping on the bandwagon; The likes of Jay Z & Beyonce, Michael Jordan and Heidi Klum have all been spotted sporting their Shamballa goodies and their fans have followed the ‘trend’. It’s pretty much like going back to the eighties with the Beastie Boys and everyone stealing VW badges all over again! Now that I can understand……… 😉

Shamballa - The symbol of peace, tranquility and happiness - Gulp! ;0)

Here’s a great tutorial that shows you how to make a macrame bead bracelet for yourself:

Half way there - About 15 mins work.

And here’s mine using waxed cord and metallic effect berry beads.

Macrame Berry Bead Bracelet by The Big Blue Bully Bus

Dead easy to make and very quick to complete! Why not have a go for yourself and join in with the crafting fun?

Next week sees the final part of my adventures in jewellery making – with me getting all excited by Indian bead loom bracelets and beyond. Until then, Happy crafting!

The VW show season has officially started with Campermart last weekend! Bit early in the year for me to be bothering, and to be fair I don’t know of a single soul that actually went, but I’m sure it was very lovely for those who did attend 🙂 Fingers crossed that it wasn’t a case of more traders than customers at any rate!

Today I received flyers for my absolute fave show – Volkspower at Redcar. If you haven’t been before – WHY NOT ?????? You can’t possibly imagine what you’re missing. Time to get your diaries out and pencil in the date, set up a little savings tin for petrol money, the bar and some fish and chips and start polishing your dancing shoes for the cracking entertainment on offer – I defy anyone to tell me that there’s better at ANY other show in the UK!

Paul and Mandy, the organisers, work so incredibly hard to bring us an outstanding weekend – And it’s northern and fairly local(ish) which is also an added bonus. Even if it was at the other end of the country I would make the effort to attend though; I’ve been there since day 1 and will forever sing it’s praises 🙂

Volkspower – Be There or Be Fed Up You Missed It!

Ooooooh! And did I mention that it’s by the sea and quite a good surf spot too? Just a five minute walk to the beach with your wetsuit or a quick drive along the coast road to the local Saltburn scene. How cool is that?

I’m off to start shining my dancing shoes NOW! It’s time to come out and PLAY!


It’s the third week of my challenge and this time it’s all about origami.

Skull & Crossbones by Quentin Origami

Deriving from the words ‘ori’, meaning ‘folding’, and ‘kami’ meaning ‘paper’, origami originated at some time during the seventeenth century in Japan. It’s the art of transforming a flat sheet of paper into a three dimensional art form by the use of various folding and sculpting techniques – no glueing or cutting is involved; That would be ‘kirigami’. Then, of course, there’s ‘kokigami’ which I suppose is best described as ‘packaging’ – but more of that later… 😉

Paper Cranes – A Symbol of Peace

In truth, I’m no stranger to the gentle art of paper folding – In the past I’ve folded many a crane in the name of Peace and taught countless classes of Primary school children how to turn a paper square into something amazing. But you don’t really need me to show you how to do this in person as there’s oodles of fantastic websites, books, video tutorials etc out there that’ll take you through everything step-by-step.

This site’s great – video tutorials, lots to make and you can even print your own paper!

Anyway… I chose to have a go at some VW themed origami for this week’s challenge (of course!!!!!) , based on the classic Charles Esseltine VW Beetle design:

Origami VW Beetle Design by Charles Esseltine

Really, it’s not for beginners at all, so if you want to try this one out I’d definitely have a go at getting the more basic stuff under your belt first – There’s a rather lengthy tutorial on YouTube that you can have a go at following if you desperately feel you need to have a go – it’s in two parts so you’ll have to make sure you view both bits):

The fruits of my labour – a bit rusty as I haven’t indulged in a few years…

Pink VW Beetle by Big Blue Bully Bus

A tad tricky when an over enthusiastic bull terrier wants to help! 🙂

And Kokigami… I said I’d get back to it didn’t I?

First of all – it really does EXIST!!!!! It’s not a spoof. It would probably be wisest to do a Google search on this – or look it up in the Urban Dictionary. I can’t fully explain it without blushing!

Basically (and this is the story I would tell my Mother), many moons ago (the early nineties to be precise), I bought a lovely little book about this particular art form that had the most amazing pre-printed templates and easy to follow instructions, advice on taking accurate measurements and even scripts for role play etc. I believe that even now it’s long since gone out of print, that it’s still available to buy from the likes of Amazon; A tome I’d heartily recommend for your craft reference shelf if nothing else…..

All I can say is…….  if you found any of my links at all useful, and you’ve had a little go at a few folds etc……… and you’ve got access to a little bit of PVA glue, some scissors and a tape measure…… you’ll possibly LOVE this little book and it’s amazing projects; I’ll say no more 😉

The Kokigami Horse – Stuff of Nightmares?

Well maybe a little bit……

The best online reference I can find to the art itself and the particular book in question is here (it’s in Spanish but there’s an optional button to translate – hilarious in itself):

Have fun! Speak to you next week about something much more sedate, Debby xxx 🙂

OK. It’s week one of my take on the ’52 crafts in 52 weeks’ project and I’ve chosen to start with something I’m fairly familiar with; albeit a bit rusty at the moment.

This month’s theme is of course ‘Paper’, so I’m setting the ball rolling with a spot of decoupage. For those of you who may never have heard of this before, it’s basically centred around the creative art of cutting out, assembling, pasting and (sometimes) varnishing paper to make decorative objects. With it, you can give furniture a new boost of life, create fabulous greetings cards, 3D pictures etc and generally make all sorts of wonderful stuff for your home .

Fantastic results can be obtained fairly easily and it’s also a great activity to carry out with children when the weather’s vile outside and they’re climbing the walls inside 😉

Here’s a few examples of it in it’s simplest form, but you can make it as complex as you wish.

Bangles courtesy of Becky Decoupage 

Mickey Mouse Side Table by Bombus

In the past, when I’ve had a go at decoupage, I’ve tended to use it to make 3D pictures and greetings cards. This involves using multiple repeat images to build up layers which are then stuck one on top of the other. In each layer, you focus on different elements of the image and cut them out to build up the final piece – Silicone glue, or foam sticky pads also help to give depth to the image and this really helps to make it ‘pop out’ from the page once everything is stuck in place.

Sound difficult? Opt for a technique such as pyramage and it’s simplicity itself!

Here I’ve cut a series of graded rectangular pieces from repeat images of a gorgeous flower powered bug and used sticky pads to hold everything in place and give a raised pyramid effect.

Flower Power Beetle by Big Blue Bully Bus

And here, I’ve used graded squares which gently twist round to create a slightly different effect.

Twisted Pyramage VW Beetle by Big Blue Bully Bus

Here’s an example of a more traditional piece of decoupage that I’ve just created – you can buy ready printed, pre-cut sheets if you want but I prefer to make my own. Only thing is I still need to find time to cut the pieces out and stick it all together!

Email me at and I’ll mail the full PDF to you if you’d like to have a go at making it too 😉

VW Bug PDF by The Big Blue Bully Bus

Phew! Blog post and first craft nearly over – just another 51 to go!!!!

Finally, here’s a little list of things that I’ve copied from Wikipedia that you might find useful if you want to have a go at decoupage for yourself:

  • Something to decoupage onto. Examples include: furniturephotograph albums, plates, ceramics, shelving, frames, mirrors.
  • Pictures to decoupage with. These can come from myriad sources: newspapersmagazinescatalogues, books, printed clip art, wrapping paper, greeting cardsfabrictissue paperlace.
  • Cutting utensil. Scissors, craft knife (X-Acto) or razor blades can be used.
  • Glue. Standard white glue works best if it is diluted with a little water. Specialty glues can be found in most crafting stores.
  • Smoother. Popsicle sticks work well. A brayer is a specialized tool like a miniature rolling pin designed to help remove wrinkles, remove excess glue and smooth pictures.
  • Glue spreader. Many things around the house can be use for this: cotton swabspaint brushes, sponges.
  • Rags, sponges, tissue paper to help wipe up glue and other clean up.
  • Sealer. Glue or other decoupage medium can be used as a sealer. Alternatively, polyurethane, spray acrylic or other lacquers are usually used.

Why not have a go yourself? It’s fairly inexpensive and great fun!