Author Archives: Ramon.KGS

How to Use a Paintbrush

The paintbrush is the most versatile and widely used tool for applying paint. Choose the brush size to match the surface that you are painting. For example, for painting glazing bars (muntins) on windows or narrow moldings on a door, use a slim brush or perhaps a cutting-in (sash) brush if you are painting up to an unpainted surface, such as glass, where a near edge is needed. For expansive, flat areas, select larger brush for good coverage. Get rid of any loose bristles in a new brush by flicking it vigorously across the palm of your hand before using it. Wash previously used brushes that have been stored unwrapped to remove any dust or other debris from the bristles, and leave them to dry out before using them to apply a solvent based paint.

Paint rollers are generally used to apply water based (latex) paints to large, flat areas such as walls and ceilings. Choose a sleeve with a short pile for painting plaster, a medium pile for painting embossed or textured wall coverings, or a long pile for sculpted surfaces such as those created with textured finishes (texture paints).Rollers can also be used to apply solvent based (oil) paint to flat surfaces such as flush doors, but tend to leave a distinctive ‘orange-peel’ texture rather than the smooth finish left by a brush.

There are some drawbacks with paint rollers: they cannot paint right up to internal comers or wall/ ceiling angles, so these need to be painted first with a brush or pad. They can also splash if ‘driven’ too fast, and the sleeves take a good deal of time and effort to clean thoroughly, especially if they have been used for a long period and there is dried paint in the pile.

Paint pads tend to apply less paint per coat than either a brush or a roller, so an additional coat may be needed in some circumstances, but they make it easy to apply paint smoothly and evenly with no risk of brush marks.

PREPARING THE PAINT

  1. Tie a length of string or wire across the mouth of the paint kettle. To load the brush, dip it into the paint, but only to about one third of the bristle depth. An overloaded brush will cause drips, and paint will run down the handle. Use the stung or wire to scrape excess paint from the bristles.
  2. Apply the paint to the wood in long, sweeping strokes, along the grain, until the brush begins to run dry. Load up the brush with more paint and apply it to the next area. Blend the paint using short, light strokes, again along the grain direction, so that no join is visible.
  3. Repeat this process while working your way across the whole area to be painted, always blending the edges of adjacent areas together using light brushstrokes.
  4. At edges and external corners, let the brush run off the edge to avoid a build up of paint on the corner. Repeat the process for the opposite edge.

USING A BRUSH

  1. Wipe the lid to remove any dust, then prise it off with a wide lever such as the back via table knife to avoid damage to the lip. Decant the paint into a paint kettle or small bucket. This will be easier to kindle than a full container.
  2. Remove any paint skin from partly used containers. Strain the paint into the paint kettle through a piece of old stocking or tights (panty hose), or a piece of muslin (cheesecloth), to filter.

USING A ROLLER

  1. Pour some paint (previously strained if from an old can) into the roller tray until the paint level just laps tip to the sloping section. Slide a sleeve on to the roller.
  2. Brush a band of paint about 5 cm/ 2 in wide into internal corners and wall/ceiling angles, around doors and windows, and above skirting (baseboards).
  3. Load the roller sleeve with paint by running it down the sloping section of the paint, then roll it tip and down the slope to remove the excess.
  4. Start applying the paint in a series of overlapping diagonal strokes to ensure complete coverage of the surface. Continue until the sleeve runs dry.
  5. Re-load the sleeve and tackle the nest section in the same way. Finish off by blending the areas together, working parallel 1’0 corners and edges.

USING A PAINT PAD

  1. Pour sonic paint into the special applicator tray and load the pad by running it backwards and forwards over the ridged trading roller.
  2. On walls, apply the paint in a series of overlapping parallel bands. Use a small pad or a special edging pad (see step 4) to paint right up to corners or angles.
  3. Use smaller pads for painting narrow areas such as moldings on doors or ginning bars (muntins) on windows, brushing out the paint along the direction of the grain.
  4. Special edging pads are designed for painting right up to internal angles, and leave small wheels which guide the pad along the adjacent surface as you work.
  5. Some larger pads can be fitted to an extension pole to make it easier to paint ceilings and high walls. Make sure than the pad is attached securely.

USING AEROSOL PAINT

Aerosol paints and varnishes are ideal for hard to decorate surfaces such as wicker work. Always follow the maker’s instructions when using them.

Using Colour, Pattern and Texture

After redesigning the house layout and reorganizing each room, the next task is to start planning the colour schemes. To do this successfully, it helps to understand the basics of colour and how to use pattern and texture to get the full effect. When putting a colour scheme together, a device called the colour wheel can be used to help plan the various decorative effects.

All colours are made by mixing together varying proportions of the three primary colours — red, yellow and blue. Mixing them in pairs creates three new secondary colours, with red and yellow making orange, yellow and blue making green, and blue and red making violet. Imagine these six colours making up segments of a circle in the order red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. Mix adjacent pairs together again, and you create six tertiary colours — red/orange, orange/yellow, yellow/green, green/blue, blue/violet and violet/red. Adding these to the circle gives the basic colour wheel of twelve segments.

There is one more ingredient to add to these colours: colour intensity or tone. By adding different amounts of white or black, you can produce lighter or darker shades of the original colours in almost infinite variety. And you can also, of course, use white, black and varying shades of grey as colours in their own right.

On the wheel, the 12 colours split into two groups. The colours from violet/red round to yellow are known as advancing colours because they appear to make wall and ceiling surfaces look nearer to the viewer than they really are. They make a room seem warm and welcoming, but also smaller. The remaining colours are known as receding colours because they have the opposite visual effect, making a room look cool, and also larger than in reality. Which group is chosen as the basis for a colour scheme depends on the overall effect that is desired in that particular room.

The colour wheel also helps to create colour harmony or contrast. Colours next to or near each other are said to be in colour harmony, giving restful effect. However, too much colour harmony can become visually rather dull; it needs livening up with some elements of colour contrast, which come from using colours at opposite sides of the wheel. Colours exactly opposite each other, such as red and green, arc called complementary.

Colour intensity (tone) can also play tricks on the eye, which can be used to good effect in colour scheming. Deep colours rend to bring walls inwards, and light colours give the illusion of pushing them away from you. A light colour will make a small area seem larger, while a deep colour will do the opposite. You should also hear in mind the proportions of your room.

If you have, for example, a room with a high ceiling, you can create the effect of more harmonious proportions by dividing the walls in half horizontally, and painting the top half and the ceiling in a darker colour. This will make the ceiling appear lower. Following the same principle, a low ceiling can be made to appear higher by painting the top half of the walls in alight colour, which is advantageous in a small room.

Using pattern

Patterns on walls, ceilings and floors add visual interest to a colour scheme either in harmony with the overall effect or to provide contrast example, by having a patterned covering on one wall, and the rest painted. Pattern as well as colour can cheat the eye and alter the apparent dimensions of a room. Wall coverings with a distinct horizontal pattern make walls seem wider and ceilings lower; strong vertical designs such as stripes have the opposite effect. The same applies to patterns on floor coverings, which can make a room look wider or narrower depending on which way the pattern clement runs.

Pattern size has its own contribution10 make. Wall and floor coverings with large pattern motifs make the surface seem to advance and so make the room appear smaller, while tiny motifs have the opposite effect of making the surface appear to recede from the eye. Choosing patterned fabrics for cushions, curtains and drapes or bed linen is an ideal way of enlivening a decor with plain walls and woodwork.

Using texture

Surface texture — in other words, a surface that is not completely smooth —helps to add variety and visual interest to your colour schemes. Wall coverings with a textured or embossed surface generally have a comparatively low relief which helps to soften the decorative effect of the material, while texture paints can be used to create effects that have quite a high relief and consequently look particularly striking when lit from the side. Textured finishes also have another benefit, of helping to disguise slightly irregular wall and ceiling surfaces.

Otitis Externa

More commonly known as “swimmer’s ear,” external otitis is common among school-age children, especially during the summer when swimming and water sports are in full swing. Bacteria invade the skin and soft tissue lining the ear canal, causing inflammation.
In mild cases a little irritation and itching may be noticed. But more commonly the child with external otitis will complain of nonstop pain—which can be severe—in and around the ear. Discomfort may be experienced when the child chews. Even the gentlest tug on the lobe will provoke pain. In some cases swelling in the ear canal can be severe enough to cause a temporary decrease in hearing as the infection progresses.
Water remaining in the ear canal after swimming can serve as a reservoir for bacterial growth as the skin surface is more vulnerable to bacterial invasion. Wax build up contributes to this process by block-the natural drainage of water from the canal. Another major cause is trauma to the canal from overzealous attempts to clean the ear using cotton swabs or other instruments. Occasionally, chronic drainage from a perforated eardrum will result in external otitis.

Otitis Externa Treatment

Even if your child’s history and complaints strongly suggest external otitis, a physician should conduct the diagnosis. The infection is usually treated with eardrops that contain antibiotics to kill bacteria and cortisone to reduce swelling. Doctors may carefully place a soft “wick” in the ear to prolong the contact of the drops within the surface. In severe cases oral antibiotics may be prescribed as well. Swimming should be avoided until the infection has cleared up.
Adequate pain control is important. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen and a warm compress placed over the ear provide temporary relief, but your child may also require stronger prescription pain medication.
If excessive wax build up is a recurrent problem (this often runs in families and is not a reflection of inadequate hygiene), your child’s physician may need to remove this material periodically. The doctor might also suggest wax-clearing measures—other than the use of cotton swabs—to try at home. In some instances, the use of soft molded earplugs when swimming is beneficial. Another approach is to instill a bacteria eating preparation into the ear canal after swimming.

How to Use a Sewing Machine

Few people would even think of beginning a sewing project without a sewing machine. Sewing by machine is quick and, if the tension has been set correctly, extremely neat. Machine stitching is indispensable when sewing long straight seams in soft furnishings and also produces strong seams in dressmaking. Use machine stitching in conjunction with hand sewing for the most professional-looking result.

TURNING CORNERS

Slow down as you approach the corner and work the last few stitches by turning the hand wheel. Stop 15 mm or 5/8 in ft, in the edge with the needle in the fabric. Lift the presser foot and swing the fabric round until the next seam is lined up with the guideline on the needle plate. Lower the toot and continue. You may have to turn the fabric back a little and take another stitch or two until the edge is exactly on the 15 nun/’/s in line on the needle plate.

SEWING CURVES

Sew slowly round soft curves, keeping the edge of the fabric opposite the presser toot on the guideline of the needle plate. On tighter curves stop and turn the fabric slightly into the curve before beginning. Keep stopping every few stitches to adjust the line of the fabric until the curve is complete. To ensure that two curves are exactly the same, for example on a collar, make a template and mark the curve along the seam line before sewing.

REMOVING STITCHES

Unless the fabric is fine or delicate, the easiest way to remove stitches is with a nunpicker. Slip the point underneath a stitch and cut it against the sharp, curved edge of the tool. Cut every two or three stitches and then turn the fabric over and pull the reverse-side thread out. Brush the loose threads from the right side and steam press to close the holes. On fine or delicate fabrics, lift and taut the stitches one at a time.

SEWING A SEAM

One of the first tasks in any sewing project is sewing a seam. Most soft furnishing and dressmaking patterns use a 15 min/5/8 in seam allowance unless otherwise stated.

Begin by basting or pinning the seam across the seam line with the right sides of the fabric together. Place the fabric under the presser foot so that the edge of the seam is next to the 15 mm/8 in line on the needle plate and the fabric is 5 mm/l/4 in behind the needle. Use the hand wheel to take the needle down into the fabric and begin to sew. Work at a speed that is comfortable, guiding but not forcing, the fabric along the line on the needle plate.

MACHINE STITCHES

The type of machine you have will determine the range of stitches at your disposal. The stitches listed here are the most common ones used in general sewing. Look in your handbook for the complete range of stitches possible on your machine. Try out a stitch on a double scrap of the fabric you will be using before you start.

1. Satin stitch: A zigzag with the stitch length set almost at zero. It is used for buttonholes and machine appliqué. Use a clear-view foot to allow enough room for the bulky stitch underneath. Satin stitch can make the fabric gather if the stitches are too wide, so check the stitch width is right for the fabric before you start. Buttonholes consist of two parallel rows of narrow satin stitches with a few double-width stitches at each end to finish.

2. Blind hemming (blind stitch hem): Use in conjunction with a blind-hemming foot. This stitch is suitable for heavy or bulky fabrics where the stitch won’t show on the right side. The hem is tacked (basted) and then fed under the foot and is sewn with a series of straight stitches followed by a zigzag stitch which picks up the main fabric. Adjust the zigzag length to make the stitch into the fold as small as possible.

3. Straight stitch: This is the stitch most widely used to join two pieces of fabric together. For ordinary fabric set the stitch length dial between 2 and 3. If the fabrics very fine or heavy alter the stitch length to suit.Use a shorter stitch for fine fabrics and a longer one for heavy fabrics. If you have an automatic sewing machine you can work a stretch straight stitch —useful for sewing fabrics such as jersey. Quick basting stitches can be worked by machine. Use the longest straight stitch possible for this to make it easy to pull out the thread.

4. Zigzag: These stitches are used for finishing edges, for machine appliqué and as decoration. Try different lengths and widths of stitch to find which one suits the fabric best. In general, the stitch should be as small, narrow and as straight as possible.

5. Multi-zigzag: Wider versions of zigzag such as triple zigzag and herringbone stitch are useful for sewing elastic on to fabric. Triple zigzag can be used lot finishing scams on soft or fine fabrics. Both stitches can be used to prevent the edges of towelling or knitted fabrics from curling before sewing.

6. Over locking: This is worked directly over the edge of the fabric, stitching and finishing the seam in one. Alternately, stitch along the seam line and trim.

7. Decorative stitches: Automatic machines contain a device called a pattern earn which allows a range of stitches to be firmed. Suitable for machine embroidery or to finish hems.

8. Computer-generated stitches: The most advanced machines have a silicone chip to create many decorative stitches. These stitches take time to complete as the fabric moves in a circular direction to create the pattern, but the results are very effective.

Party Planning Ideas

Many parties celebrate an event such as an annual feast, birthday, wedding, christening or anniversary; they can also take place for no special purpose at all other than to see friends. Whatever the occasion, it is most important to have a clear outline of the form of entertaining before you begin to work on any of the preparations — planning is the cornerstone of success.

Annual festivities, such as Thanks-giving, Christmas, New Year and Easter, often follow a traditional structure, but this does not mean that there is no need to plan ahead; it simply means that there will be fewer decisions to make and that they will all fall into an existing framework. For all other occasions, a decision on the type and size of celebration is the starting point, and the usual pre-arranging has to follow. Begin by considering your budget, then outline what sort of part)you are planning within your financial restrictions. Work through all of the following points to establish a structure for planning all the details.

Degree of formality

If you decide on a formal party, this will provide you with a set of clear-cut rules to follow. You may opt for complete informality, in which case you need to work out your own pattern of rules. However, many occasions tend to fall somewhere between these extremes.

The important thing is to decide exactly how you want to entertain, let everyone know what to expect and to stick to your decision by planning accordingly. Think in terms of dress, how you expect guests to participate and the type of refreshments, and pass all this information on to your guests.

The style of celebration will also dictate whether you need outside help. Caterers, waiting staff and bar staff maybe hired for formal occasions, such as weddings, and may also he employed for any large party or even for formal dinner parties. These aspects of any party should always be planned at the outset, not as afterthoughts.

The guests

Bringing people together for small parties such as dinner parties is not always easy, and deciding on the group of people to invite to larger gatherings can also be difficult. Nevertheless, this is an essential and important first step in good planning. If you organize a dinner party for people who are

Planning ahead will leave you time to add finishing touches such as flower arrangements.

strangers to one another, it is important to mix individuals who are likely to get on well together, or at least to express an interest in one another. When inviting friends to larger gatherings, always ensure that there are groups who will know or can relate to one another.

Think back over your own social experiences, and you will probably recall occasions when certain guests in the minority have obviously lingered on the fringe of a gathering, awaiting the first polite opportunity to take their leave. Having made the point, it is equally important to stress that there are exceptions — outstanding social successes do sometimes occur with the most unlikely groups of people.

Numbers

Although it may seem an obvious point, it is vital to make sure that you can cope with the numbers for the type of party that you are planning. This is largely a matter of space. For example, it is not practical to arrange a formal dinner party for 8 guests if you can only sit 7 around the table: the eighth person who is perched on a stool at the corner of the table will make everyone else feel thoroughly uncomfortable. The same applies to a barbecue for 50 when you have one small grill; a cosy kitchen brunch for 10 in an area that is cramped with 6 people; or a children’s party for 25 in a house that is overfilled when half-a-dozen children are invited and where there is only a small garden. Remember, however, that the equation can work the other way, and that, for some types of gatherings, success depends on having the party area fairly tightly packed with people.

Food and drink

Whether the gathering is small or large, it is important to decide on the level of refreshments — snacks, finger food, some form of buffet or a proper sit-down meal — and to make sure that the food and drink you provide arc suited to the occasion. You need to think about this in relation to the time of day, numbers invited and your budget. Do not be afraid to make an unusual decision about the form of food, but do make sure that it is adequate and that you can cope with the preparation, or that caterers, if you are using them, do not need facilities that are not available.

Invitations

Whether printed, handwritten or extended by word of mouth, invitations should convey certain important information clearly to the recipients. They should state the names of those

invited, your own name(s), the occasion and the reason for it, the place, the time and an address to which replies should he sent. Written invitations often include the formula`RSVP'(which stands for please reply in French), in one corner, to remind guests that an answer is required. You should give details of any special form of dress on the bottom of the invitation.

Ready-made cards on which you write in the details yourself are available in styles ranging from formal to fun. You can also have cards printed for a special occasion.

Giving A Dinner Party

A proper dinner party can he fun, as well as formal, especially if you know your guests well. This is an opportunity to lay the table with your best table linen and chinaware, to make your home look beautiful with flowers and other decorations, and to prepare dishes that are special and out of the ordinary. Plan to have all the cooking calmly under control and to allow yourself a period of all-important relaxation before your guests arrive, so that you can enjoy the occasion too.

To ensure that everything goes smoothly on the night of the party, draw up a checklist of things that you need to do, starting with jobs that you can easily complete a few days before the event, such as the shopping and cleaning. Try to prepare as much as possible in advance: make and freeze suitable dishes or, with dishes that cannot be frozen, make them the day before if possible and store them in the refrigerator. Leave only the finishing touches to be done on the day, to avoid a last-minute rush

A formal dinner party

Serving a meal of many courses can be an excellent way of entertaining,

particularly when guests appreciate the nuances of different foods and subtle flavours. As lighter eating has become the norm, the most acceptable way of serving such a feast is to present small portions throughout the meal. Serve good-quality bought or home-made appetizers with drinks before dinner. The meal itself may consist of 4 or 5courses, or more. Supper are usually avoided on very formal occasions in favour of carefully sauced dishes with separate vegetables or side salads. The simplest of formal dinner-party menus should include soup dish.

MENU REMINDERS

Menus for dinner parties are best kept simple, and cook-ahead dishes are ideal, as most will not spoil if your guests linger over pre-dinner drinks. Simple first courses often make the most memorable appetizers — opt for prime-quality ingredients and serve them attractively. You might try avocadoes and chopped walnuts with an oil-and-vinegar dressing, melon with Parma ham (prosciutto), fresh figs served with a twist of freshly ground black pepper, or perhaps something hot, such as Scallops Wrapped in Parma Ham (prosciutto).

Classic casseroles such as Coq au Vin or Boeuf Bourguignon make practical and versatile dinner-party fare, as do simple but delicious meat dishes such as Boned Pork Loin with Apple-cream

Sauce, or Pot-roast Chicken with Sausage Stuffing. For the latter, you can prepare the stuffing the day before, making the dish very simple to put together and cook on the day of the party. Lightly spiced curries, such as a Simple Chicken Curry served with rice is also acceptable and often benefit from being cooked a day ahead so that the flavours mingle. Even if you plan an elaborate dessert, it is a good idea to offer a simple alternative. Do not dismiss fresh fruit —pineapple and different types of melon, as well as other fruits, can be presented in eye-catching ways. There are many exotic fruits now available that make eye-catching displays. Fruit ices and sorbets are also wonderfully refreshing at the end of a meal course, a main course and dessert. In Europe it is also usual to serve a cheese course towards the end of the meal. A fish course or light appetizer may he served after the soup or a refreshing sorbet may be served between the first and main courses, and a savory dish may be served instead of cheese.

Place cards are always laid at formal or large dinners. Simple, elegant cards are best for such occasions. First cut a strip of card(cardboard) measuring 15 x 7. 5 cm/6 x3 in. Mark a told across the centre and a2.5 cm/1 in told at each end of the strip. Using a craft knife, lightly score the folds.

An informal dinner party

Although the style of an informal party will differ from that of a more formal occasion, your aim should still be to provide well-prepared and beautifully presented food. 3 or 4 courses are usually served at a party of this kind. The opening course may be a starter (appetizer), salad or soup, and the main course will be followed by either dessert or cheese, or both. An informal dinner party can feature a more extensive menu, if you wish, even though the general approach to the evening is very casual.

DIRECTIONS:

1. If the informal nature of the evening refers more to dress than to food, you may wish to offer 4 or more courses of less ‘classic’ food, with supper-style dishes (such as pasta or risotto), perhaps with a national theme, included on the menu.

2. Draw a simple stencil design on to sheet of acetate using a waterproof felt-tip pen, and cut it out using a craft knife. Lightly load a stencil brush with gold paint. Hold the stencil firmly in position on the card (cardboard) and dab the paint through it, keeping the brush vertical.

3. To attach the ribbon, mark and then cut 2 small slits in the card. Thread the ribbon through and tie it into a bow. Trim the ends of the ribbon if necessary.

4. Lay the finished cards in suitable positions on the table, such as on side plates or with the napkins.

Pet Safety

Pets can give a lot of pleasure. They make good companions for all ages and are an excellent way for children to learn about responsibility and caring for others. Being a deterrent to burglars and an intruder alarm, a family dog also helps to safeguard the home.

Keeping pets involves a lot of responsibility, however, and they can cause accidents and spread disease if not properly looked after. Make sure you know how to care for any animal you own and that whichever member of the family takes on the routine tasks will have enough time and commitment to do the job properly. Bear these points in mind when deciding what sort of pet to bring into the home.

Living with dogs

Dogs interact with humans so well that they soon become a member of the household, demanding their equal share of company and attention to keep them happy and well behaved. As dogs can live for ten to 15 years or even more, owning one is a long-term commitment. Feeds need to be regular, as does exercise. Grooming is necessary to keep the dog’s skin and coat in good condition, and to minimize the amount of hair shed in the house, and with long-haired varieties, this can overtime become more of a chore than a pleasure. Dogs bring dirt and dust into the house, so increasing the amount of housework around them.

Choose the breed carefully to suit your family situation; dogs are bred for certain characteristics and different types can require much more exercise and feeding than others. Most dogs do not like to be left alone for long periods, and some can become destructive in the home. Check on the dog’s likely temperament and if you are buying a puppy try to see both parents.

Training is another important aspect in a dog’s life. Dogs must always be kept under control and well behaved, especially in public. An uncontrollable dog is a potential danger in the home and on the street. If you have any difficulty with training your dog, seek out a training group, where your dog can learn to socialize with other canines and learn to respond to your commands.

Keeping cats

Cats are much more independent than dogs, and require less care and attention. They groom themselves, unless they are long-haired, and often spend a lot of their time on their own. However, when they do want attention, or a nice warm lap to snuggle into, they can be very affectionate and rewarding as pets. They will even play with you, but on their terms and only when they feel like it.

It is wise to get a male cat neutered and a female cat spayed. Males grow into rangy beasts which take to fighting and spraying your property as they mark out their own territory. Females can, and most probably will, start to reproduce at six months of age and can produce two litters a year. Finding good homes for the kittens can become a regular headache. Talk to your local vet about the best time to spay and neuter your pet, if unsure.

Small rodents

Mice, hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits all have their particular charms. They are generally relatively short-lived, although some rabbits do go on for many years. Although they are much cheaper to keep than either dogs or cats, they all need to be contained in cages, preferably with areas or runs large enough for them to exercise in. Hamsters particularly like toys and wheels to play with and guinea pigs and rabbits benefit from being allowed to run out of doors. Cages should be cleaned weekly.

Many children are wonderfully at ease with pets, but it is a good idea to show them how to hold and handle animals safely.

What To Do In An Emergency

To a person with a reasonable knowledge of the simple basics of first aid, there is usually a clear-cut course to follow. There is no need to panic. This helps nobody, least of all the victim. Here in this section you will find the basic needs that may help in coping with the general run-of-the-mill accidents that commonly occur. It is not a complete manual, but it should serve as a guide in emergencies. However, this does not replace first aid training.

Read it through and get to know the requirements of how to act in an emergency. Who knows, but the next time it is needed you may be able to save someone very close to you – one of your children, relatives or friends. First aid knowledge will never go amiss, even if you use it only a few times in your lifetime. If it saves one life or more, then it will have been all worthwhile. It is possible to take courses in first aid in most countries.

To start this section, a few of the essential ingredients of first aid care will be outlined. It is not an exhaustive list, but covers the more important and more pressing needs.

Remain Calm

It is essential that the person offering first aid remain calm throughout the entire procedure. In major accidents, fear will no doubt strike the heart of any amateur not regularly geared for the unpleasant sights that may occur. Seeing humans in pain and distress is never easy, and a sense of empathy is inevitable. However, do not be overcome with anxiety, for this will reduce your efficiency. It is preferable for the adrenaline produced by your system to convert you into a more efficient unit. When you are calm, you can think clearly, act with precision, with dignity and authority.

Others will tend to listen to you, and are more likely to be helpful. Most important, your patient will appreciate kind, authoritative words, filled with good cheer, confidence and hope. Do not tell stories about the last person you saw with similar injuries who died two days later. Right now the patient wants good cheer, hope, confidence, life, more than anything else. Use this to its full effect, no matter how you might feel, and how poor the outlook appears. It is a major factor, and is repeated often in the following headings of guidance.

Breathing and Heartbeat When attending a person who has sustained an injury, or some type of medical emergency, there are several steps to follow. These may be summarised as follows:

1. First, make sure that both you and your patient are in a safe position. This is especially true of roadside accidents, where passing traffic may cause further serious injury to you both. Or with electrical emergencies, make certain that the power has been turned off, so that further danger cannot occur.

2. It is essential to check the patient’s level of consciousness.

3. Next, check that the airways are open and clear. When this has been done,

4. Check for breathing, and

5. Check the pulse in the neck (the carotid artery pulse). This may be felt by the fingers just below the jawbone on the side of the throat.

If the patient is not breathing automatically, it is necessary to take steps to force air into the lung system. This is called expired air resuscitation, or EAR for short. It used to be called mouth-to mouth breathing or resuscitation.

If the heart is not beating, indicated by an absence of the carotid pulse in the neck, it is essential that this be started again. This is carried out by external cardiac compression (ECC for short. formerly known as external cardiac massage). More likely both procedures will be carried out together, and this collectively is called cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR for short. In summary, EAR + ECC = CPR.

It is essential to get the blood flowing again as urgently as possible, for it is well-established that irreversible brain damage may occur after three minutes, although this is a variable time. Sec the section on Resuscitation and learn by heart the methods to be used. The methods have various names, but names are unimportant; the basic steps are what matter. Any first aider must be aware of the system and be able to put it into immediate action at any moment. It is frequently life-sustaining.

These measures must be continued until normal heart and breathing action resume, or the patient is handed over to professional personnel geared with other methods of sustaining life.

Stop Bleeding

Once the heart and lung action have been re-established, the next most pressing emergency action is to check any abnormal bleeding. Blood loss is crucial, and it must be stopped as a matter of urgency The more forceful the loss (and the greater the volume being lost), the more urgent the measure.

If this does not happen, fluids are lost from the body, and very quickly the patient may submerge into various states of shock. This may lead to unconsciousness, and death may quickly result.

Blood loss, irrespective of where it is coming from, must be checked. External loss can usually be stopped or greatly reduced by direct pressure using some form of clean padding. It doesn’t matter what this is during an emergency. Be as sterile in your actions as possible, but stemming the flow comes before sterility with haemorrhaging.

Other Injuries

After these first essentials have been attended to, it is then possible to reassess the patient and attend to other injuries. These may include such features as broken bones (fractures), dislocations, soft tissue injuries such as lacerations, sprains and contusions (bruises). It may affect burns, foreign missiles and any number of items.

If the patient is unconscious, it may be impossible to decide what has happened. In any case, the patient is then best placed in a stable side position (see instructions and pictures), and medical help obtained.

Medical Help

Many accidents need urgent help from doctors and ambulance officers. Do what you can on the spot, and then summon assistance. Ideally, if living in the city or in areas where ambulance services are available, call them urgently, or have an assistant do this.

You will need to state clearly your address. and often the nearest cross-street, for this can help quicker access. State how many are injured and need help, and briefly the nature of the accident. Great details are unnecessary. Simply state: “There has been a motor-car accident and three persons are badly injured and two are unconscious.” That is adequate. Usually the ambulance depot gives you a reference number that is worth remembering in case there is some subsequent delay, or something goes wrong. If this is not available, get the help of a doctor.

If this is not forthcoming, then getting the patient to the emergency ward of a large hospital is the next best thing. The sooner this can be carried out the better. This is particularly difficult with serious accident cases, and unconscious victims or persons with a probable spinal or other serious fractures. However, in an emergency when there is no help available, you can only do your best.

First Aid Kit

Often many minor accidents can be helped a great deal if you happen to own a simple first aid kit. It is wise to have it ready for all occasions, and use it as need be. But after use, make certain you replenish the items used so that once more it will he readily available.

It is worth while having a photocopy of the methods of resuscitation and the stable side position glued to the inside of this kit, and also glued to the inside of your home medicine cabinet. Also, have the emergency phone numbers of likely persons you may need to contact similarly listed in these two places. It can make it so much easier when an emergency arises. How often have you seen people trying to fumble through the small print of the telephone book in an emergency. desperately trying to locate a much-needed number? Often they will miss it many times over because their nervous system is trying just too hard, and they are too overwrought to know what they are seeking. This even applies to such vital services as the ambulance, doctor, police and fire brigade. if these are clearly written in an obvious place, then you will have less worry, and you will be able to act in a more calm, positive and beneficial manner.

Summon Help

Often accidents require the assistance of many persons. Often you will need a neighbour or friends. Often there will be plenty of people around. But even though the crowd rapidly gathers when an accident occurs (especially spectacular events such as fires and road smashes), often there is hardly a soul who will willingly come forward to offer help. Far better to be able to call a friend or neighbour to lend a hand, and ideally someone who also has a little knowledge of first aid.

As a Last Resort

If, as a last resort, even though you are unfamiliar with first aid, and do not know too much about general principles, at least try to remain calm and do your best. Fortunately, commonsense often comes to the rescue, and will suggest to you what to do next. Be guided by your inner directives, and frequently this will help – at least until somebody with some more direction and knowledge turns up. Good wishes and success in your first aiding.

Stomach

The stomach and duodenum are very important parts of the gastrointestinal system. The cardiac valve at the lower end of the oesophagus leads into the stomach, a dilated part of the bowel, which leads into the duodenum via the pyloric valve. The relatively short duodenum in turn proceeds into the start of the very lengthy small bowel.

The stomach is important, for here digestion really commences. Powerful glands in the wall of the stomach pour forth a variety of fluids that act forcibly on the food as soon as it enters. Under the powerful dissecting microscope, the stomach lining has the appearance of a lattice caused by the opening of myriads of gastric glands. Near the cardiac valve, these glands produce chiefly mucus, a thick, heavy fluid, rather jellylike in nature. (This material is often seen in vomitus.)

The greater part of the stomach walls contain glands that actively secrete hydrochloric acid, pepsinogen and other chemicals. These all play a part in food digestion. Toward the far end of the stomach, the glands produce a powerful chemical called gastrin. The presence of food activates the production of gastrin, which in turn causes the other glands to secrete their gastric juices, and so aid digestion. Controlled by Nervous System But apart from this, most of the glands are under the direct action of the nervous system (the computer like mechanism we talked of earlier). This may also regulate gastric-juice production.

Most people are aware of the effect that mental tensions, anxieties and stresses have upon the stomach. Acting through the nervous system, potent gastric juices (containing all the components mentioned) may be liberated in force.

This is probably one reason why such a high incidence of ulcers attaches to occupations in which stress and mental turmoil are an everyday accompaniment. The stomach and duodenum are sites for some very important pathological processes. Peptic ulcers (that means a break in the mucosal lining) are very common, particularly in the duodenum.

Also, the stomach, being the place where all food and fluid intake must go as the first port of call, is subjected to all manner of abuses. Therefore, dietetic indiscretions (foolish food items, excesses of alcohol and other irritants, acid from cigarette smoking) frequently play a major part in producing adverse symptoms. Not only may they help to cause ulcers, but general inflammation of the lining walls (gastritis) can readily take place.

Infections also may gain entry into the intestinal system through this route. One of the system’s most lethal forms of cancer, carcinoma of the stomach, occurs here. Unfortunately, as with oesophageal cancer, symptoms appear usually when it is too late to provide an effective cure.

Proper Table Setting

China, glass, cutlery (flatware) and overall linens together make up the overall look of any setting. On to that framework can be added candles and their holders plus the table decorations, which are the icing on the cake. These are obviously areas where you can add personal touches that may be quite different from anyone else’s, and not even very different each time you entertain. But with imagination and flair, you can be creative with all the elements that go into laying a table. Your existing tableware will have the greatest influence on the table settings you create. You will probably instinctively choose designs that suit the style of your home, whether it is elegantly modem, traditional or has a more relaxed country look. Given this starting point, however, there is no reason why your table has to look the same each time you set it. Of course, you may have a favourite look, and you may always want to re-create it. But there will be occasions, such as Christmas, Easter or at special celebrations, when you wish to make your table look more special than usual. The other main reasons for wanting to adapt the look of your table settings are that, as time goes by, fashions in home style change and personal tastes develop. You may want to reflect these changes in your table settings.

China

The art of successful table setting is to be clever with the crockery, so mix, match, adapt and adorn your dinner service to suit the mood and the occasion. The effective way to mix pieces from different sets is to link them by colour. So by collecting all white or all cream, for example, you can create a wonderful overall effect from pieces that were not necessarily designed to match. Another way is to collect two different but harmonious colours, black and white for example.

Under plates, too, provide a lot of scope. Buy brass to lend sparkle at Christmas or other celebrations, or coloured glass to add a new look on any occasion. Alternatively, you could put clear glass plates on top of those from the main set, with something decorative between, such as leaves, fabric or flowers that will show through and can be changed to suit the mood.

Whatever style of cutlery (flatware)you choose, a collection that complements the overall setting will enhance the look of the table.

Highlight the gold rim of elegant porcelain soup cups by contrasting it with brass. Even if your dinner service is plain, it will look richer if set on metal. Add a gold tassel and wrap party favours in gold organza for very special occasions.

Cutlery (flatware)

Knives, forks and spoons can have a wonderful sculptural quality to them, which may be used in many ways in a table setting. The formal and obvious way is to lay them, in accordance with etiquette, soldier-like on either side of each plate. But try adorning the cutlery, tying it in pairs or threes with ribbon, raffia or string. You could also tie in a place card, or tuck in a flower, leaf or, if you wish, a chandelier crystal, a tassel or a shell for extra decoration.

Glass

Glass is so beautiful that it needs little decoration, but it is lovely to make something special of, say, a pre-dinner cocktail. Frosting the rim with egg white and caster (superfine) sugar is a traditional idea, and one that always delights. Tassels, ribbons, cords and beads can be tied decoratively around the stems of glasses, or golden wire wound around them in graceful imitation of Italian wine bottles.

It is not difficult to be innovative with linens. Napkins can very easily be equipped with unusual ‘rings’, embroidered or embellished with beads. Nor do table cloths necessarily have to have been purpose-made. Any suitable length of fabric — bedspreads, saris, sheeting or curtain lining — will do. When a fabric is not too expensive, you can embellish it with stamps, stencils or fabric paint; choose to appliqué or embroider it, or stitch on less obvious trimmings, such as buttons and shells, pebbles and even twigs.

DECORATIVE IDEAS

Create a table decoration that is as simple as a few seasonal flowers in a vase or as elaborate as a formal arrangement. But the real creativity comes when you add your own flair, perhaps transcending the obvious. Wrap vases in almost anything from brown paper to string to give myriad new looks. Place flowers in vases, ready-tied to give them natural-looking support; if the container is glass, the securing string will add to the decoration. Gild flowers, foliage and berries, and add fruits or vegetables to a floral arrangement. Stand flowers with straight, sturdy stalks, on plates or in shallow bowls, tied to keep them in an upright position.

Fruits and vegetables make wonderful organic table arrangements. As well as the more obvious grapes, pears, figs and pomegranates, use pumpkins and marrows (squashes),perhaps decoratively carved and internally lit with a night-light. Gilding fruits and vegetables, or tying them up with string or raffia, adds the extra touch to make them different.

A witty reference to silver chain decanter labels can be made with a necklace. There is something sensuous about this one, made of chandelier crystals and feathers.

Evocative of American Indian dress, a leather thong bound round and round natural linen, then trimmed with a few game feathers, looks fabulous.

Wallpapering Ceilings

Many people regard the papering of ceilings with horror. In reality they are easier to deal with than walls because they are flat, do not have any awkward angles (except in rooms with sloping ceilings and dormer windows), and have few obstacles attached to them apart from the occasional light fitting(fixture), which can in any case usually be removed quite easily.

The only thing that takes getting used to when papering ceilings is working on an upside-down surface. The basic technique is no different from working on walls. The wall covering is simply positioned, brushed into place and then trimmed where it meets adjoining surfaces.

The most important thing to plan carefully is access equipment that will safely allow a complete length to be hung across the room. Nothing is more dangerous than attempting to step off of the chair; proper access is a must. The best solution is to use scaffold boards or lengths of staging, supported by stepladders, trestles or home-made supports to create a flat, level walkway spanning the room from wall to wall at a height that allows the ceiling to be reached comfortably. It will take only a few seconds to reposition after hanging each length, ready for the next.
This is also a job where an additional pair of hands will be a big help, at least before gaining the knack of supporting a concertina of pasted wall covering with one hand while:.-rushing it into position with the other— this can be done only with practice.

The first length should he hung to a guideline on the ceiling. The best way of marking this is with a chalked line against the ceiling at both ends snapped against it.

PAPERING CEILINGS

1. Paste the wall covering in the usual way, but fold it up concertina-fashion with the starting end of the length folded over on itself. Lining (liner) paper has been used here.

2. Hang the first length to a chalked line just less than the width of the call covering from the side wall. Support the folds on a spare roll of wall covering from the side wall. Support the folds on a spare roll of wall covering.

3. Trim the overlaps at the ends and along the side wall. Then hang the second length in the same way, butted up against the edge of the first length.

4. On meeting a pendant light fitting (fixture) pierce the wall covering over its centre and make a series of radial cuts outwards front the pierced point.

5. With the power turned off at the unscrew the cover and trim the tongues off, flush with the base of the fitting. Replace the cover.

6 Where the ceiling runs into an alcove, CIA the wall covering in line with the sidewall of the recess and brush it into place.’

PAPERING ARCHES

The shape of an arch makes it impossible to get a pattern match along the curved join. It is best to choose a wall covering with a small design motif and a random pattern, to use different but complementary designs for the face walls and the arch surface, or to use lining (liner) paper inside the arch and paint it a plain colour.

To paper an arched recess, cover the face and hack walls first turning cut tongues of wall covering onto the arched surface. Then cover the arch surface as described below.

To paper a through archway, hang the wall covering on the two face walls and trim out the waste to leave an overlap of about 25 mm in all around. Make cuts in the edge so that the tongues can be turned on to the arch surface. Then cut a strip of wall covering a traction narrower than the width of the arch surface and long enough to cover it in one piece, and brush this into place. Work from the bottom of one side upwards to the top of the arch, and then down the other side. Always use special overlap adhesive with washables and vinyls.