Author Archives: Ramon.KGS

What Are The Endocrine Glands?

Endocrinology is the study of a strange set of organs that produce important chemicals called hormones. These are pumped directly into the bloodstream, and rapidly circulate to all parts of the system. Most of the glands produce more than one chemical. Indeed, some, such as the pituitary gland, can produce a large number. Each hormone has a specific function. The remarkable thing is that the hormones seem to know exactly where to go and what to do.

There is usually a fine balance between the activities of the various chemicals. This is all aimed at keeping the body as near to normal as possible, and functioning with the minimum amount of discomfort. Indeed, considering the huge number of chemicals involved in the function of the system, it is amazing. The endocrine glands are all largely under the control of the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus. These two areas form part of the brain. near its base, and together act as “captain of the ship.” They produce hormones that in turn govern the production and activity of other hormones produced in other regions of the body. They can have an overriding effect. They are close together, and actually the hypothalamus is the reins that check, activate and regulate the pituitary.

Although there is no direct conscious control over these glands by the individual, certain mental states, such as tensions and stresses and other psychological conditions, may indirectly influence the hypothalamus, so in a sense there is some indirect form of control.

In ordinary health the normally functioning glands pump out measured amounts of their hormones each 24 hours. Sometimes there is a so-called circadian distribution of production. This means it may vary during the 24-hour cycle of the day. In other areas it may be on a longer-term basis, such as in the ovaries of the female, where a 28-day cycle tends to occur.

In indifferent health, usually due tosome disease process, the endocrines will produce an altered amount of chemical. There may be either overactivity or underactivity of production. In turn, this will have dire repercussions on the total system. With some, it will dramatically alter the production rate of other hormones or affect general bodily function in startling ways. The most serious cause for these irregularities is when tumours (grave if these are cancerous) commence growing in the glands.

The next gland coming down from the hypothalamus and pituitary is the thyroid. This is situated in the neck at roughly the level of the Adam’s apple. It produces thyroid hormones that in turn exert powerful influences directly on the body. They also affect the other endocrine glands of the system.

Located behind the thyroid gland, and indeed deeply embedded in its back wall, are four small, rounded organs called the parathyroids. These are concerned with calcium and phosphorus metabolism. In this way they radically affect the bones, their rate of growth and general solidarity – a vital factor to normal living.

Sitting on top of the kidneys at the back of the abdominal cavity are the adrenal glands. Each consists of an outer part or cortex, and an inner part or medulla. These two sections produce important hormones. Cortisone comes from the cortex and is well-known for its vital effect on the system. It also produces hormones that affect blood pressure, and the medulla produces adrenaline, essential in giving the body its ability to cope with situations demanding “fight or flight.” The gonads are the major differentiating glands of the sexes, and are commonly called the sex glands. In females they govern the onset of the secondary sexual characteristics, and also control menstruation and the ability to become – and remain – pregnant.

In males, apart from ensuring pubertal development, the testes produce male hormone and the sperms, the male cells of reproduction.

Finally. the pancreas is located in the abdominal cavity, and its main claim to fame is in producing insulin. Deficient supplies produce a disease syndrome called diabetes mellitus, commonly known as sugar diabetes. Unless treated. many cases could quickly end fatally. But treatment can now maintain a person in near-normal health for a good long life. Generally speaking, the study of the endocrines is a very complex one.

Doctors who study this aspect of medicine usually do so in special clinics attached to major hospital units equipped with full facilities to investigate patients. Diagnosis is often difficult. Treatment is no simple matter in most cases. It usually has to be regulated very carefully. The doctors who do this are called endocrinologists. Diabetes too, although often patient-treated, must be under strict medical supervision. but it is one of the few disorders in which the patient is encouraged to take a close part in the actual administration of therapy, such as giving insulin if this is needed. The endocrines are a fascinating study and have attracted some of the best brains in medicine.

As more research is being carried out, more knowledge is being gained. Recent development of sensitive methods for detecting very small quantities of hormones in the blood have been developed. One such method is radioimmunoassay. This is opening vast new areas, for often until the doctors know more about chemical levels in the blood, diagnosis and treatment are delayed.

There are many practical repercussions from all this. For example. infertility (the inability to conceive) is an increasingly common problem in many women after they have taken the oral contraceptive pill for awhile; there are also other unknown reasons. To date treatment had been poor and relatively ineffective. But radioimmunoassay revealed that these women often have a higher-than-normal level of prolactin in their bloodstream. This is a hormone produced by the anterior lobe of the pituitary.

With this knowledge, the doctors have developed a drug called bromocriptine that effectively lowers plasma prolactin levels. The result is that many infertile women may now become pregnant – often within a few months of diagnosis – by taking bromocriptine. This is merely one indication of the value of increased knowledge in this exciting and rewarding field.

It is pointed out that many cases of endocrine disorder give rise to odd symptoms. If any of these are recognised, do not try to treat yourself. Get along to a doctor, who in turn may refer you to an endocrinologist if it appears to be warranted. Here correct diagnosis and treatment will be readily available. Home therapy, as a general rule. has no place in the treatment of endocrine disorders

Urticaria


What is Urticaria?

Hives are localized skin reaction indicating that fluid is collecting (edema). They usually appear suddenly and arc whitish-pink in colour. They may he small or large, and single hives may coalesce with neighboring ones to form a large area of inflamed surface. (This is called “giant hives” or angioneurotic edema.)

The itch is often marked and there is a persistent desire to scratch. But this brings little satisfying relief and often produces further infection later. Sometimes itch is minimal.

The lesions vary in the time they persist. This may be from a few hours to days or even weeks.

Urticaria Causes

Generally hives are a manifestation of an allergy. A product called histamine is liberated by the cells, and this produces the swelling, irritation and itch. The factors producing this sensitivity are many.

The possible ones include:

Sensitising drugs. Practically any medication is capable of producing an allergic reaction in a susceptible person. For example pain-reducing preparations (aspirin etc), antibiotics (particularly penicillin, but others as well), sulpha drugs, antihistamines and many others. Sensitizing foods. Many foodstuffs may produce allergic skin eruptions. Some of the common offenders include wheat products, milk, eggs, pork, fish, shellfish and crustaceans, tomatoes, strawberries and chocolates.

Physical factors. Extremes of heat and cold are fairly common in producing urticarial reactions. (For example, after a hot shower, or a swim in a very cold surf or pool, eruptions can suddenly appear.) Other general factors. Chronic infections, foci of infection (such as bad teeth or tonsils), anaemias, and a similar list of “poor health” conditions have also been incriminated. They may play a part in certain people.

Urticaria Treatment

The occurrence of hives is fairly easy to diagnose, and many people have experienced them on many occasions before. Most cases are simple, and home remedies often bring prompt relief.

Local applications

Cool (or sometimes ice-cold) packs often bring soothing relief from the itch, heat and discomfort. Apply often (but discontinue if there is any worsening). Simple lotions and creams containing an antipruritic (anti-itch) product often give relief if the irritation and itch is excessive (for example, calamine liniment containing benzocaine 3 per cent and camphor 1 per cent). Many commercial products are available for this purpose (eg Dermocaine).

Antihistamine creams do not afford much relief (as would he expected). Antihistamines. In simple cases, an antihistamine tablet will often bring quick relief. The non-sedating brands arc best, for this will not cause drowsiness and will enable a good result without the risk of becoming drowsy while driving or working. Terfenadine (“Teldane”) tablets and astemizole (“Hismanal”) tablets do not induce sleepiness and are worthwhile.

However, if sleepiness is not a problem, any of the older antihistamines are suitable. Many brand names are now available over the counter.

Mild laxative

This often assists to eliminate the cause from the system, particularly if the hives appear suddenly and tend to persist. “Coloxyl” or “Colox: with Senna,” or paraffin and its various commercial products are all effective Natural products include psyllium fibre (“Metamucil” powder in water) or taking processed bran with your morning  breakfast cereal. “Durolax” an “Granacol” are also effective. Drinking plenty of fluids (especially water) is quick way of eliminating toxins from the system, or diluting them in the gut.

Diet.

Many people are aware of the foods that produce symptoms. During outbreak it is wise to eliminate the foods  listed above that could cause trouble. Stick to simple foods for a few days.

Medication.

Do not take any medication unless under doctor’s orders. Even if on medication, and relief is not  forth coming, it is wise to have this reevaluated by your physician. You may allergic to some of the items taken.

Further Treatment.

Simple hives often respond quickly and effectively to simple routines. If they persist, or if they become more marked, if they tend to blister or the irritation becomes annoying, further medical advice may be required. Sometimes acute widespread complications take place. Two major complications requiring immediate medical attention a – commencement of hoarseness sudden- or a harsh noise coming from the box, especially if associated with respiratory difficulty and “Anaphylactic. shock,” in which there is uneasiness a feeling of faintness, headache throbbing in the ears. This requires prompt treatment by a doctor.

Adrenaline by injection by the physician may be required and steroid therapy may also be necessary in certain cases. Further investigation is needed if the response persists.

Spider Bite

In the continental United States and Canada only the bites of brown recluse and black widow spiders inject venom that can cause serious problems. However, any spider bite can cause significant swelling.

Brown Recluse

Symptoms.

Often the brown recluse bite is at first painless or causes only a brief  stinging. Several hours later pain begins around the site and can become severe. The involved area often has a “red, white, and blue”  appearance: a wide area of reddened skin, within which is a smaller patch of white-appearing skin, and finally a central bluish discoloration around the fang marks. The central (blue) area usually forms an ulcer that may take weeks or months to heal and occasionally requires skin grafting. This procedure is generally done about two months after the bite because the graft may slough off if applied to the poisoned area too early. Other possible symptoms of brown recluse bites include fever, skin rash, nausea or vomiting, joint pain, and bloody urine.

Treatment.

There is no specific treatment or antidote for brown recluse bites. Many treatments have been tried and found to be ineffective. Cleanse and elevate the wound. Antibiotics are occasionally prescribed, and a tetanus booster is given if needed. In general the best approach is a combination of effective pain relief and keeping the bite site clean and dry to prevent secondary infection.

Prevention

Brown recluse spiders prefer warm, dry, and abandoned locations – for example, vacant buildings, woodpiles or sheds, or seldom-used closets. The spider is brown with a violin-shaped marking on its back. Active primarily at night, they usually bite when trapped in clothing or shoes. Be careful when delving into closets and other spaces that have been undisturbed, and shakeout clothes and shoes that have been stored awhile or that are kept in areas where brown recluse spiders have been seen.

Black Widow

A black widow bite is generally unnoticed at first but then becomes painful – often severely so – within 15 minutes to 4 hours. Pain will usually reach a peak in 2 or 3hours, but it can last up to 48 hours. Associated muscle spasm, which may be very severe, contributes to the pain. Usually only two tiny red spots are visible at the bite site, or no local reaction may be seen at all.

Treatment.

The primary goal of treatment for a black widow bite is to relieve pain and muscle spasm. An antivenin is available, but it is generally reserved for severe cases, which are more commonly seen in young children.

Prevention

The black widow is a shy, coal black spider with a red or yellow hourglass marking on the underside of the abdomen. Only the female spider bites. She builds a chaotic, irregular-shaped web that is easy to recognize when compared to the highly symmetrical webs of other spiders. The black widow is found throughout the United States, preferring warm, dry environments, both indoors and out.

Tarantula

These spiders attack only when handled roughly. Their bite can be painless or can cause a deep, throbbing discomfort that generally stops after about an hour. The only treatment needed is elevation and possibly a pain reliever, although most of the discomfort usually subsides before the medication takes effect.

Paperhanging Tools and Equipment

As for painting, there are 2 distinct groups of tools, equipment and materials to deal with wall coverings.

Stripping tools

The basic: technique for removing an old wall covering is to soften the paste used to stick it to the wall so that it can be scraped off and discarded. To strip porous materials such as ordinary printed paper and the hacking paper left behind after dry-stripping vinyl wall covering, use a bucket of water and a sponge or a garden spray gun to apply the water, dust sheets (drop cloths) to protect floor coverings, and abroad-bladed scraping knife to remove the softened paper.

To remove wall coverings with a water-resistant plastic or painted surface, it is necessary to pierce the surface film and so allow the water to penetrate. This can be done with a serrated wallpaper scraper or preferably a toothed roller or wheel, which is rolled backwards and forwards over the surface to create hundreds of little perforations. The water will take longer to penetrate this type of wall covering.

Stripping can be sped up dramatically on coated wall coverings(and also on paper-backed fabrics and texture paints) by using a steam stripper. This consists of a perforated steaming plate and a water reservoir heated by electricity or bottled gas. Steam penetrates the surface far more quickly than water does, enabling the covering to he stripped more quickly and effectively.

Paperhanging tools

‘There are 4 separate operations involved in hanging a new wall

covering: earring to length, pasting, hanging and trimming.

For cutting, the tools are a retractable steel tape measure, a pencil and a pair of scissors (or a sharp utility knife and a steel straight-edge).

For pasting the wall covering, there should be a bucket in which to mix the paste (unless using ready-mixed tub paste), plus a stirrer and a brush with which to apply the paste. A standard10 cm/4 in wide paintbrush is usually satisfactory, but special pasting brushes can be bought.

When choosing the paste, follow the instructions for the wall covering concerned. In particular, remember that a paste containing a fungicide should he used for washable and vinyl coverings, to prevent mold from growing in the paste as it slowly dries under the impervious covering.

A special overlap adhesive is needed for lap joints in internal and external corners when using washables or vinyls.

All that is needed when hanging a ready-pasted wall covering is a large plastic soaking trough in which you can immerse the rolled-up lengths of wall covering.

Before starting hanging, a plumb bob and line are needed to mark it true vertical line on the wall against which to hang the first length.

Most wall coverings are applied with a special soft-bristled paperhanging brush. These are generally between 19 cm/71/2 in and 25 cm/10 in wide, and have a slim handle. The soft bristles help to make the wall covering follow the contours of the wall surface beneath, and also eliminate undue hand contact with the lace of the covering, which might mark it.

A sponge can be used instead of a brush for hanging washables or vinyls, especially if they are ready-pasted, since here the sponge helps to mop water from the surface of the wall covering as well as smoothing it into place.

The final stage is trimming, and the best tool for this is a special pair of paperhangers’ scissors. These have blades up to 30 cm/12 in long for making long, straight curs.

For papering walls, a stepladder is needed which should be tall enough to enable the ceiling to he easily touched. For papering ceilings, set up a proper platform across the width of the room at a comfortable  height, using scaffold boards or staging on trestles or other low supports to ensure complete stability. Do not step trout chair to chair or set up similar dangerous makeshift arrangements.

A flat surf tee is needed to lay the paper on while it is being pasted. It is best to use a proper pasting table. This is a lightweight folding table covered in hardwood or plywood on a softwood Mime, and is usually about 1.8 m/6 ft long and just wider than a standard roll of wall covering. If you cannot buy, borrow or hire a pasting table, one can be improvised by cutting a standard sheet of plywood or chipboard (particleboard) down to the same width and supporting it on trestles or sawhorses.

Solid Wood Floor Installation

Securing loose boards

For suspended wood floors — boards laid over floor joists — start by lifting the old floor covering and checking that all the boards are securely fixed to their joists, and that they are reasonably flat and level. Loose hoards will creak annoyingly: when walked on, and raised edges or pronounced warping may show as lines through the covering.
Use either cur nails or large oval-headed nails to secure loose hoards, and then recess their heads slightly using a nail punch.

Laying hardboard

Covering the existing boards with a hardboard underlay is an alternative to floor sanding as a way of ensuring a smooth, flat surface ideal for thin sheet coverings. Lay the boards in rows with  the joints staggered from row to row, and pin them down with hardboard pins driven in at 15 dojo in spacings. Lay separate strips above pipe runs.
If preparing to lay glazed ceramic or quarry tiles on a suspended wood floor, put down exterior-grade plywood.

Sanding floors

Where old floorboards are very uneven, or it is planned to leave them exposed but they are badly stained and marked, hire a floor sanding machine. This resembles a cylinder (reel) lawnmower, with a dorm to which sheers of abrasive paper are fitted. A hag at the rear collects the sawdust; however, always wear a face mask when sanding floors. Also hire a smaller disc or halt sander for finishing off the room edges.

If necessary, drive any visible nail heads below the surface before using the sander. When sanding floorboards, always raise the drum at the end of each pass to prevent the abrasives from damaging the boards while the
machine is stationary

LAYING A HARDWOOD FLOOR

1. If hardboard sheets are used as an underlay for a new floor covering, start by punching in any raised nail heads all over the floor.
2. Nail the headboard sheets to the floorboards at 15 cm/6 in intervals along the edges and also 30 cm/12 in apart across the face of each sheet.

SANDING FLOORBOARDS

1. Use a floor sander to smooth and strip old floorboards. Drape the flex (cord) over one shoulder and raise the drum before starting the machine up.
2. using coarse abrasive paper, nun the machine or an angle of 4D° to die board direction to begin with, first in one direction and then at right- angles to the original passes.
3. Then switch to 2 medium-grade abrasive and run the sander hack and forth parallel with the board direction. Finish (AI will, fine-grade abrasive.
4. Use a smaller disc or belt sander 10 strip areas close to the skirting’s (baseboards) and door thresholds, where rho larger drum sander cannot reach

PREPARING SOLID FLOORS

Ground floors of solid concrete are prone to two main problems: cracking or potholing of the surface, and rising damp caused by a failure in the damp-proof membrane within the floor structure. Cracks and depressions may show through new floor coverings, especially thinner types such as sheet vinyl, while dampness will encourage mould growth beneath the covering.

Relatively narrow cracks can he patched with a repair mortar of 1 part cement to 3 parts sand, or an exterior-quality masonry filler. It the floor surface is uneven or pitted, it can be covered with a thin layer of self-smoothing compound. The mixture is made up in a bucket, poured on to the floor surface, and trowelled out to a thickness of about 3 mm/Vs in. The liquid finds its own level and dries to give a hard, smooth surface which cane walked on in about 1 hour. For best results, leave it to dry for at least 24 hours before laying your floor covering over it.

An alternative approach is to cover the concrete with a floating floor of chipboard (particle board), if raising the floor level will not cause problems at door thresholds. The boards can he laid directly on the concrete over heavy-duty polythene (plastic) sheeting, which acts as a vapor harrier. If additional insulation is required, put down polystyrene (plastic foam) hoards firsthand lay the new flooring over them. Treat damp floors with two coats of a proprietary damp-proofing liquid.

LAYING A SELF-SMOOTHING COMPOUND

1. Sweep the concrete floor clear of dust and debris. Then scrub away any parches of grease with strong detergent solution. The surface is very dusty or appears unduly porous, seal it by brushing on a generous coat of diluted PVA building adhesive(white general-purpose adhesive).

2. Mix up the self-smoothing compound in a bucket, following the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure that the mix is the right consistency and is freeform lumps. Starting in the corner farthest from the room door, pour the compound out on to the floor surface to cover an area of about 1 sq mill sq ft.

3. Use a plasterer’s trowel to smooth the compound or to a thickness of about 3 mm or 1/8 in. Mix, pour and level further hatches as required.

LAYING A CHIPBOARD FLOOR

1. You can level and insulate a concrete floor by laying a floating floor of chipboard (particle board) over it.
Put down heavy-duty polythene (plastic) sheering first.

2. Tape the sheet to the walls; this will be hidden behind the new skirting (baseboard) later. Then carefully butt-joint 25 mm/ 1 in polystyrene (plastic foam) insulation boards.
Cover the insulation with tongued-and-grooved flooring-grade chipboard. Use cut pieces to fit as necessary, and add a tapered threshold (saddle) strip at the door.

Preparing Surface for Covering

Once the previous wall and ceiling decorations have been removed the next task is to restore any defects in the surfaces to be covered, and then to prepare them so that they present the perfect substrate for successful paperhanging.

The first step is to put down some heavy-dory plastic sheeting on the floor to catch splashes, and then to wash down the hare wall and ceiling surfaces thoroughly with strong household detergent or sugar soap (all-purpose cleaner), working from the bottom upon walls, and then to rinse them off with clean water, working this time from top to bottom on walls. Turn off the electricity supply first in case water gets into light switches and socket outlets (receptacles). Leave the surfaces to dry out thoroughly.

Next, repair defects such as cracks, holes and other surface damage which may have been concealed by the previous decorations, or even caused by their removal.

Finally, treat the wall and ceiling surfaces with a coat of size or diluted wallpaper paste, and leave this to dry before starting paperhanging. Size seals porous plaster, providing a surface with absorption, and also makes it easier to slide the pasted lengths of wall covering into position on the wall.

Wash wall surfaces with sugar soap (all-purpose cleaner) or detergent, working from the bottom up , then rinse them with clean water, working from the top down

Wash ceilings with a floor mop or squeegee, after disconnecting and removing light fitting.. Again, rinse off with clean water.

Fill cracks, holes other detects in the wall and ceiling surfaces as appropriate, leave the filler to harden and then sand the repair down flush.

Apply a coat of size or diluted wallpaper paste to wall and ceiling surfaces that are to be papered, and leave them to dry before starting paperhanging.

CROSS-LINING

If the wall surface is in poor condition, has been previously decorated with gloss paint or is being decorated with a thin fabric wall covering, it is best to hang lining(liner) paper first. This is usually hung horizontally rather than vertically, with butt joints between lengths and with ends and edges trimmed just shun of adjacent ceiling and wall surfaces. Use the same type of paste for the lining paper as for the subsequent wall covering.

MEASURING AND CUTTING TO LENGTH

1. For quick and easy calculations, mark the length of the pasting table at 30 cm/12 in intervals using a pencil and metal straight edge.

2. Measure the length of wall covering needed for the drop, including trim allowances., and mark this on the paper. Cur the first piece to length.

PASTING WALL COVERINGS

1. Face the light to make it easy to spot any unpasted areas – they look dull, nor shiny. Apply a generous hand of pastedown the centre of the length.

2. Align one edge of the wall covering with the edge of the pasting table, then brush the paste out towards that edge from the centre band.

3. Draw the length across to the other edge of the table, and apply paste out to that edge Rio. Check that there are no dry or thinly pasted areas.

4. Continue pasting until the end of the table is reached. Then lift the pasted end of the wall covering and fold it over on itself, pasted side to pasted side.

5. Slide the paper along the table so the folded section hangs down. Paste the rest of the length and fold the opposite end over on itself.

How to Make a Stencil

Materials

A variety of materials can he used for stencilling, from special stencilling paints and sticks to acrylics and latex. Each has its own properties and will create different effects.

Acrylic stencil paint: acrylic stencil paint is quick-drying, reducing the possibility of the paint running and seeping behind the stencil. Acrylic stencil paints are available in a wide range of colours, and can be mixed for more subtle shades.

Acrylic varnish: this is useful for sealing finished projects.

Emulsion (latex) paint: ordinary household vinyl emulsion can also be used for stencilling. It is best to avoid the cheaper varieties, as these contain a lot of water and will seep through the stencil.

Fabric paint: this is used in the same way as acrylic stencil paint, and comes in an equally wide range of colours. Set with an iron according to the manufacturer’s instructions, it will withstand washing and everyday use. As with ordinary stencil paint, do not overload the brush with colour, as it will seep into the fabric. Always back the fabric you are stencilling with scrap paper or newspaper to prevent the paint from marking the work surface.

Gold leaf and gold size: these can be used to great effect. The actual design is stencilled with gold size. The size is then left to become tacky, and the gold leaf is rubbed over the design.

Metallic creams: these are available in many different metallic finishes, from gold to copper, bronze and silver. Apply as highlights on a painted base, or use for the entire design. Creams can be applied with cloths or your fingertip.

Oil-based stencil sticks and creams: the sticks can be used in the same way as a wax crayon, while the creams can be applied with a brush or your fingertip. With either one, there is no danger of overloading the colour, and they won’t run. The disadvantage is their long drying time (overnight in some cases); also, the colours can become muddy when mixed. Sticks and creams are also available for fabrics.

Equipment

Stencilling does not require a great deal of special equipment; many of the items used are commonly found in most households. A few tools, however, will make the job easier.

Brushes: it is worth investing in a set of good stencil brushes. The ends of the brushes should be flat and the bristles firm, to let you control the application of paint. A medium-size brush (4 cm/11/2 in diameter) is a useful, all-purpose size, but you may want to buy one size smaller and one size larger as well. You will need a selection of household paintbrushes for applying large areas of background colour, and small artist’s paintbrushes for adding fine details.

Craft knife: use for cutting out stencils from cardboard.

Cutting mat: this provides a firm surface to cut into and will help prevent the craft knife from slipping.

Masking tape: as the stencil may need to be repositioned, it is advisable to hold it in place with masking tape, which can be removed fairly easily from most surfaces.

Paint-mixing container: this may be necessary for mixing paints and washes.

Pencils: keep a selection of soft and hard artist’s pencils to transfer the stencil design on to cardboard. Use an ordinary pencil to mark on your object the positions of the stencils before applying.

Stencil card (cardboard): the materialised to make the stencil is a matter of preference. Speciality stencil card is available waxed from specialist art stores, which means that it will last longer, but ordinary cardboard or heavy paper can also be used. It is worth purchasing a sheet of clear acetate if you wish to keep your stencil design, to re-use time and again.

Tape measure and rulers: some patterns may require accuracy. Measuring and planning the positions of your stencils before you begin will aid the result.

Tracing paper: use to trace and transfer your stencil design on to stencil card

Stencilling is not difficult to master, and you can create some wonderful 3-dimensional designs but it is worth practising first to get used to handling

TRANSFERING TEMPLATES

1. To transfer a template on to a piece of stencil card (cardboard), place some tracing paper over the design, and draw over it with a hard pencil.

2. Turn over the tracing paper and, on the back of the design; rub over the lines you have drawn with a soft pencil. Turn the tracing paper back to the right side and place on top of a sheet of stencil card. Draw over the original lines with a hard pencil.

PAINTING TECHNIQUES

1. Block stencilling: Use for filling in large areas in a single, solid colour. As in all stencilling, remember not to apply the paint too heavily – less is more. Always blot the paint on to a piece of cardboard before you begin.

2. Block stencilling with second colours tippled: When applying two colours, always apply the lighter shade first, then the darker. Do not cover the entire surface with the first colour; leave a gap for the second shade, then blend later. Use a separate, clean brush for each colour.

3. Dry-brushing, rotating from edge: Using big circular strokes, work from the outside of the whole stencil, moving inward. This should leave you with more paint on the outside, as there will be lesson your brush as you move inward.

4. Two-colour blocking: When you apply the first colour, do not fully block out the petals; instead, outline them with the first colour and leave the centres bare. Use the second colour to fill. Take care not to apply your paint too heavily.

5 Stippling: This method uses more paint and less pressure than rotating or flicking. Taking a reasonable amount of paint on the bristles of your brush, simply place it down lightly. This gives a rougher look. Do not go over it too many times, as this spoils the effect.

6 Dry-brush stippling: This is similar to stippling, except that it is essential to dab most of the paint off the bristles before you start. This gives a softer effect.

7. Rotating and shading: Using a very dry brush with a tiny amount of paint, place your brush on one side of the stencil and rotate the brush in circles. Repeat, using a slightly darker colour on the edges for soft shading.

8. Flicking: For the flicking effect on the leaves, use slightly more paint on the brush. Working from the centre, flick the paint outward once or twice. Be careful not to overdo.

9. Flicking upwards: Using a reasonable amount of paint (not too wet or too dry) on your brush, flick upwards only. This creates a line at the top of the petals and leaves.

10. Dry-brushing and rotating: Apply a tiny amount of paint by rotating the bristles from the centre and from the outside tips, to give more paint in these areas. Work along the line, using less pressure than on the centre and the tips. This gives a soft shade in between.

11. Brushing up and down: Using slightly more paint on your brush than you would for rotating, brush up and down only, taking care to keep your lines vertical

Stammering Tongue


Stammering Tongue is a defect of articulation, and is not associated with any pathological structural lesion of the nervous system or the apparatus used in the production of sound. It is more common in males, and seems more probable in normally left-handed persons who have been forced to become right-handed.

Often more than one member in the family is affected. It never occurs in infancy or childhood, but tends to set in originally at the age when a person becomes shy. timorous and aware of the sensation of being self-conscious. It may follow on from an illness (such as a simple infection like measles or mumps) or follow a sudden fright or emotional strain or embarrassing situation. Shyness and self-consciousness are invariably present.

It is much more probable in families where emotional stress and tension are common. Excessive strictness, overindulgence in family members, jealousy and similar emotional overtones can aggravate the condition after its onset, and can help to initiate it in the first place.

The patient never stutters in a mental train of thought, nor in solitude or talking aloud to himself or herself. Most can sing without any problem. The music has an ego-strengthening effect.

It is usually the consonant that is the troublemaker rather than vowels, and certain ones commonly cause much more difficulty than others. Many stutterers try to cover their nervousness and embarrassment by the use of ancillary movements, so facial contortions and tics may develop as a corollary.

Stammering Tongue Treatment

Treatment is often highly successful. “The development of confidence and self reliance is everything in the treatment of stuttering.”

Speech therapy can often yield good results, provided the therapist can gain the confidence of the patient. Revealing the basic faults and then re-educating the speech process is the system used. The use of relaxation methods and ego-boosting has a definite place and can assist in recovery. Many achieve spontaneous cure. Specialised clinics attached to the major university research hospitals often claim good results. Treatment may produce results that seem slow at first, but with perseverance, success may ultimately be the outcome.

Preparing Garden Soil

The key to any successful gardening is good soil preparation. Inadequate attention to preparation at the outset is difficult to remedy once the plant has put down its roots and become established.

First of all, it is extremely important to clear the soil of perennial weeds. If only one piece of many of these remains, it will soon re-grow and, if the roots become entwined in those of the climber, could become impossible to eradicate. Once the planting area is completely cleared, however, it is not such a difficult task to remove weed seedlings and keep the bed and the plants clear from then on.

Digging is important, too, as it breaks up the soil, allowing moisture and air to enter, both being vital to the well-being of the plant. The process also allows the gardener to keep an eye out for any soil pests. Dig the soil some time before you intend to plant thebe; digging in autumn and planting in early spring, after checking for any emerging weeds, is ideal.

As you dig the soil, incorporate well-rotted organic material. Not only does it provide food for the plants but it also helps to improve the structure of the soil. The fibrous material helps to breakdown the soil to a crumbly consistency, which allows free drainage of excess water and, at the same time, acts as a reservoir to hold sufficient water for the plants without water-logging them.

The final breaking down of the soil with a rake is more for aesthetic appeal than usefulness; the planting area will look more attractive if it has a smooth finish than if it is left rough.

If possible, prepare an area of at least1-1.2 m/3-4 ft in diameter, so that the roots can spread out into good soil as they grow.

Soil conditioners

Most gardens have patches where, for whatever reason, there is less moisture than elsewhere. If you improve the soil and select plants that are able to thrive in dry conditions, however, this need not be a problem.

Chipped or composted bark has little nutritional value, but makes a good mulch when spread on the surface, by reducing water evaporation and discouraging weeds. It will break down in time. Farmyard manure is rich in nutrients but often contains weed seed; it is a good conditioner. Garden compost (soil mix) is also very good as a conditioner and has good nutrient value. Leaf mould, made from composted leaves, also has good nutritional value and is an excellent conditioner and mulch. Peat is not very suitable as it breaks down too quickly and has little nutritional value.

Tending The Soil

1. Using a chemical spray is the only way to be sure of completely eradicating perennial weeds. Use a non-persistent herbicide, which breaks down when it comes into contact with the soil. It is vital always to follow the instructions on the pack exactly, not only for the obvious safety reasons but also to ensure you use the correct dose to kill all the weeds in the area first time.

2. If the turf to be removed does not include perennial weeds, or the soil is friable enough for the weed’s roots to be removed by hand, it is safer to remove the turf by slicing it off with a spade. Stack the turf in a heap, grass-side down, and use them as compost (soil mix)when they have broken down.

3. Dig over the soil ‘and, as you dig, remove any weed roots and large stones. Double dig, if the subsoil needs to be broken up. Add as much well-rotted organic material as you can to the soil before it is planted, in order to improve its condition.

4. Add the compost (Soil mix) or manure to the soil as you dig, or spread it over the top after all weed roots have been removed, and fork it in.

5. If you dig in the autumn, leave the soil for the winter weather to break down; at any other time, break the soil down by hand into a reasonably fine tilth. Use a rake or hoe to break down the larger lumps of soil, until the bed has an even appearance

Undescended Testes


Undescended Testes happens fairly frequently. Normally the testes descend from the body to the scrotum shortly before birth. But occasionally they seem to get lost. They may partially descend, then return to the body. This may keep on occurring. Alternatively, the testes may have developed in an abnormal manner, and are situated in some different place. This is termed an ectopic testis.

The testes belong in the scrotum from birth onwards. If they remain in the body, as age progresses, the sperm-producing capacity is adversely affected and infertility may take place in later life.

The other may be very hazardous. Testes remaining in the body have a high risk of turning cancerous. What’s more, it may be a very serious, rapidly growing and spreading type.

Undescended Testes Treatment

If a parent notices the testes are missing or come and go, referral to the doctor is essential, and the sooner the better.

What treatment is carried out? This will vary with the patient and the exact diagnosis. Some doctors prefer to give hormonal treatment a trial run first. They administer the hormone chorionic gonadotrophin, and this is occasionally successful in bringing the testes into the scrotum.

What if this fails?

And fail it often does. Then a surgical approach is taken. This is invariably successful. The testes are found and anchored securely into the scrotum. The operation is quite straightforward; the patient rapidly recovers, and usually the beneficial effect is lifelong. It is a highly successful procedure. But as you said earlier, the sooner a parent takes action, the better. Never neglect any disorder in this region. It’s often quite obvious, and a check is very simple.