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Tuesday, 8 May 2018

CRAFTY POST - Making a DIY Pom Pom Rug

It was easier to put some instructions on this blog, than post responses on facebook, so here they are...

It's very simple to make, just takes forever to make them

I went fairly large for a pom pom rug (there's a surprise) - Most you see on Pinterest or google tend to be smaller

In total I made over 400 pom poms. Time consuming, but so easy to make anywhere, so you stop becoming aware you are even making them.  You zone out, and your hands just keep going

You will need:

Wool - (fairly obvious).  It uses quite a lot. I used cheap double knit from my stash (which has obviously grown again, as I bought more in case I ran out)

Latch Hook Canvas - I got this off ebay.  The piece I used was 70cm x 100cm

Pom Pom Maker (You can use traditional cardboard rings, but you will probably be 110 years old before you finish)

I used the 45mm Small Clover Pom Pom maker.  (the yellow one)

(Don't bother with ebay chinese copies - they are crap)

These aren't massive pom poms, but it would have used even more wool, if I had used my larger ones.  It takes roughly 2-3 minutes a pom pom

Its faster if you use two strands of wool at a time - you need to wind around the pom pom maker until the centre is level with the arcs - approx 100 times around each side of the maker (50 if using double strands)

I found if you wind it in the centre, then push the wool to the side, repeat, then fill the middle, its easier

Reverse of the rug - poms poms tied, and edges finished

The Design

I made small flowers - two coloured poms in the middle, and six plain colours around them.
When I started to tie these to the rug, I had small gaps. To fill these gaps and the edges, I made a lot of contrasting black and white, and plain black pom poms - these just filled the spaces

How to make

Start making a good stash of pom poms in different colours - I made about 50, which was the first row of flowers

When you tie each pom pom, make sure it is as tight as possible.  I double the strands I used to tie them - and leave long tails - you will need these.  I do 2 knots on one side of the pom pom, then wrap the wool to the other side of the pom pom maker, and do two knots on this side

Now just tie the pom pom to the latch hook canvas, again as tight as possible - Leave a small edge of about 2cm around the edge of the canvas

Keep going until you are happy with the amount of pom poms.  Fill any spaces that look a bit gappy with a contrasting pom pom


I turned over each of edges of the canvas and sewed them over to get rid of the raw edges

On the outside edge pom poms only, I also sewed from the back of the rug to the front, through the pom pom and back again.  This stopped the outer pom poms falling outwards

Once I was happy with this, I backed it with Hessian (I used a coffee sack I had), and just oversewed the edges.  If any pom poms go astray, I can always replace and sew through both layers to attach them again

All done, and in place!

It passed Tarqs stringent testing standards

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

A winter camp, lovely weather apart from Hurricane Ophelia...

Autumn 2017

Haywood Farm - Ross on Wye

Long overdue on a blog post, so weaning myself back in slowly

The forecast seemed unusually warm for this time of year so a perfect excuse to escape for a few days.  I perhaps should have read the small print that the dregs of Hurricane Ophelia was demolishing Ireland, and just semi demolishing the rest of the UK.

The sky turned a lovely shade of orange, from the sahara desert dust evidently (no idea why it didn't send a bit of a heatwave with it, as well) and facebook was predicting Armageddon

So a minimal pack as usual, Tillie (the veedub),  a tent, a sofa, three million candles and enough electric to power blackpool tower.

Despite the warm temperatures forecast, I packed three heaters.  Two of them never came out of the bag.  I like to play safe though.  Admittedly the electric blanket was probably a bit OTT in hindsight as well.

So after 15 minutes the tent was up and everything was in place for the next few days (it may have been longer than 15 minutes, but I'm not owning up to it)

Gruffatent gets an outing

As I had a few days solo camping, I treated myself to some gin.  It cost an arm and a leg, but being a gin connoisseur, it was obviously worth it due to my highly trained and unique palate skills (In truth, I thought the bottle was pretty, so i bought it)

So I tried a glass neat first.  After picking myself up off the floor, I decided to try it with tonic water.  Much better.
So I had a few glasses to ensure I could give a precise and accurate review.

Verdict was, it was very nice

The next day, we decided to go for a stroll through the woods.  The campsite owner gave us the cautious words 'here's a map, its all marked trails, so you wont get lost.  Although some people still do'

Tut. What imbeciles.  How hard was it to follow a clear path to the lake and back?.  And so, me and my trusty hound, and the compulsory orange squeaky ball set of, looking for the tunnel under the M5.

In awe at the autumn colours, and natures best, it was a lovely and straight forward stroll to the lake

Tarq divebombed the lake, inhaled his usual quote of killer algae, and we set off back

I decided to take the stroll back around the lake, so that Tarq had a bit of a longer walk.  Bloody stupid idea.  2 hours later, i had thrown google maps in the hedge, and still couldn't locate the poxy m5 tunnel.  Creeping round the golf course was also a wasted trip, as there was no escape.

So after our 20 minute stroll turned into 2 hours, we headed back to our haven of cream cakes and coffee

With dreams of being the next shakespearean writer, illustrated with a bit of van gogh, and the philosophy of Socrates (i googled 'greek wisdom people' and this was the best i could come up with), I decided to start a journal...

It would educate people with the wealth of my knowledge, for years to come, be adopted by schools everywhere for their curriculum, and go down as one of the greatest novels, in the style of Anne Franks

Sadly the reality turned into a load of random splodges, doodles, and very little useful information whatsoever....

So we waited for the Sahara desert dust to blow us back to Asia, going out in style with a campfire blazing, food cooking, and more gin

And nothing happened...zilch....nada...not even a we basked in the facebook comments of 'be careful', 'take care', 'just take the tent down if it gets too bad', 'thinking of you' (obviously someone wanted us dead), and lazed around in the unnaturally lovely summery type day.

Next morning was glorious sun and packing up day.  Bored doing nothing, Tarq generally tries to drag me into his games....

You ready yet?

So I decided to take a quick walk with my furry child, and we wasted an hour on the climbing frame (out of season camping is invaluable, never anyone around)

Tarq tried to pull the sulky, 'can't we stay here forever' trick as usual...

So for the first time this year, we got a dry pack up for heading home :)

Back in my van

Thursday, 20 April 2017

REVIEW: 'Camping under the Stars' 5m Bell Tent

12 months ago, Tommy approached me and asked if I would like to review one of his bell tents. No problem..

However, due to a bit of a manic year the opportunity never came around to just whisk it off somewhere.  Several camps using the Lotus, Tipi, camper and awning, but with grandaughters popping out every five minutes, and a hectic year, it got later and later, and still no review.

I'm sure Tommy thought I had ate the tent, or donated it to Calais.

So first camp of the year, I finally got round to testing it.  Tommy who had lost the will to message anymore, actually did contact me the day before by pure coincidence. 'YES!!! I am finally taking it camping, honest!!!'
Tommy advised that a small upgrade to the guy rope sliders had been made, and he would send some of the new ones through. No worries, if they arrived late, it wasn't the end of the world.

And so, feeling brave I took an overloaded Tillie (the campervan) to Somerset, complete with enough camping gear to keep a small gypsy population going for a few years.

Arrived to the sun out, and a nice large pitch.  Groundsheet down, and humping the canvas onto it, I tweaked and shuffled, turned and primped, until the door faced an exact 287 degrees to the campfire.

I laid out the bags (one for the canvas and one for the poles), pegs, and poles.

All looked good - sturdy 32mm centre pole, and standard A frame with a plastic raincap....which flew across the campsite, and I had to find another in my spares box

Very impressive galvanised pegs supplied for the guy ropes..

which got me thinking...

where are the bloody guy ropes...?!!!

Flitting between considering a 4 hour drive home, robbing a washing line, or adopting foetal position...I looked closer at the canvas I had laid out.  The guy ropes were already attached.....JOY!  

Its the first tent I haven't had to tie the bloody things on at the start.

The guy ropes were hiding

The zipped on ground sheet was a standard 540gr/m2 in a sand colour.  Canvas is 285g.  The canvas is slightly darker, and more of a sand colour than some of the bells I have tested.  It also seemed a bit denser on the grain, with what I presume is a light coating or finish on it, to assist waterproofing.  No big difference, and may just be because some of the older tents have been bashed about in the elements now.

Despite Tarqs best efforts, I finished pitching the tent pretty smoothly.

All was up and ready for the final tweaks to get the walls neat and firm.

What you swearing at, Mum?
Now this was the moment, I thought 'I should have waited for the wooden sliders Tommy was sending'.....

The ropes on the guys are thicker than are usually supplied, but the original guys had fairly small plastic runners.  And they were an absolute b*&Stard to tighten up!  After red raw fingers, I started to adjust the guys by moving the whole bloody peg away from the tent.  Some slid after a bit of resistance, but some were a nightmare.  I'm sure they would have eased off after a couple of uses, as the rope would have worn in, but I was throwing my rattle out of the pram by now (in honesty I probably wasted about 5 minutes, but I'm not the most patient)

So here is the nice thick rope and nasty little black plastic runners...

And here are the lovely wooden sliders that greeted me when I got home, after they obviously arrived 5 minutes after I had left the house....

There are enough wire pegs to peg down the groundsheet, and galvanised ones to do the guy ropes.  However, as with 99% of bell tent suppliers, none are supplied if your preference is to peg the elastics seperately from the groundsheet.  Just a niggle of mine, as I always peg this way, to ensure the zip is protected from the elements, and the tent has a nice firm shape to the walls

The corners of the A Frame have the 'pockets' and clips as standard. An electric lead can be threaded through these when using hook up.
I am presuming the small eyelet is to take a peg,  to lock the front lip in place if  folded down when the wall is up (Not something I've ever seen/noticed before)

The main doorway, has an internal mesh door that can be zipped up independently.  This is a fairly standard feature now, and one I would always look out for.  Earlier bells didn't have this, but it gives you a 'window' in colder weather, without actually zipping everything up, and also restrains the dog (who thankfully hasn't realised he could actually get his 6 stone bulk through it pretty easily if he tried)

Chilling, with just the mesh door closed

So the only job left was to glamp and pimp it, with a few cushions throws, and a bloody great sofa.  We had our chill out area for the next 5 nights

Weather conditions were pretty good - it was pretty windy whilst pitching, and the tent had no issues with being pulled around a bit.  There was a small shower, but in honesty, it probably wasn't enough to totally test the waterproofing and seams.  I can't envisage any problems, as its a decent solid tent, and has obviously had the canvas treated.

Overall I couldn't fault it (as the little plastic runner demons have been demoted to the bin, and his nice chunky wooden cousins have taken their place)

I will put the wooden sliders on, and do a half arsed pitch on the back garden, next time torrential rain is forecast....If I do have any issues or leakage, I will update the review

At £475, and with free delivery, it is a competitive price option against the bigger named soulpad, and bell tent uk, which offer the same spec tent for a higher price

Link to the website is:

The full spec and description is on the website:-

5M Tent Dimensions

Door Height – 1.6m
Centre height – 3m
Side Walls – 0.6m
Floor Diameter – 5 metre
Weight – 31kg approx
Bag size 1mx40cmx40cm approx

Customer Service

Some of the larger bell tent sellers seemed to have lost their personal touch a bit with regards to communications and service.  I have never seen a negative word about Tommy, or his tents from anyone who has purchased them, and hopefully he will remain as proactive and helpful in the future

PS: The only bit I would disagree on is:

'Even though the tent comes to you already proofed with mould and water resistance, we recommend that you treat your tent after the first years camping season to keep the canvas in optimum condition. Like anything in life, the more you look after it, the longer it should last.'

I wouldn't ever reproof unless the tent shows signs of leakage. Once you start applying fabsil, you are putting a layer of silicon on the tent, and it has to be done regularly.  Some of my bells are in their 6th/7th year and still have no leakage

CRAFTY POST - Making a DIY Pom Pom Rug

It was easier to put some instructions on this blog, than post responses on facebook, so here they are... It's very simple to m...