Author Archives: Ramon.KGS

How to Make a Table Cloth

Both square and round tablecloths are quick to make. For practical uses choose a washable fabric, either plain or patterned, in a shade which matches or co-ordinates with the general color scheme of the room as well as any favorite tableware.

Cotton and synthetic blends are easy to sew, require practically no ironing and so make a good choice for everyday table cloths in the kitchen or dining room.

Plain, heavy cotton and linen look better for more formal occasions, but they require more hard work to keep them looking good over the years. Always treat stains on table linen immediately and launder as soon afterward as possible. Choose a pretty printed fabric to make a covering for a rectangular kitchen table.


1. Measure the sides of the table top, adding twice the required drop from the edge of the table and 25 mm/1 in all around for hem allowances. Cut out the fabric. Turn and press a 12 mm or 1/2 inch hem around the sides.

2. Unfold both hems and carefully cut across each corner diagonally, as shown, within 6 mm or 1/4 inch of the corner point at the inner fold.

3. Pin the diagonal edges together, with the right sides facing, and stitch a narrow seam 6 mm or 1/4 inch from the raw edge. Stitch from the inner corner point and make the seam 12 mm or1/2 inch long. Press and turn the corners out to the right side

4. Refold the double hem. The diagonal seams at each corner make a neat miter. Stitch around the edge of the table cloth, close to the inner fold. Press the hem.

Cover a round occasional table with a floor-length plain under cloth, and then top it with a small square cloth made of co-ordinating fabric.


I. Measure the diameter of the table top and add twice the depth of the drop plus 25 mm or 1 inch for hem allowances. Make a pattern from dressmaker’s pattern paper using a pencil tied to a piece of string measuring half your final measurement. Hold one end of the string and draw a quarter circle on the paper. Cut out.

2. Fold the fabric into four and pin on the quarter circle pattern, aligning the folded edges of the fabric with the straight edges of the paper. Cut out using sharp scissors.

3. Stitch around the outside of the fabric 12 mm or 1/2 inch from the raw edge. This line of stitching marks the hem. Press the edge over on the wrong side of the fabric along the line, without stretching the fabric.

4. Carefully turn under the raw edge to make a double hem, and then pin and tack (baste) the hem in place. Stitch around the edge of the table cloth close to the inner fold of the hem. Press the hem well.


When joining fabric to make either a square or round table cloth, avoid making a seam down the centre as this can look rather unsightly. Instead, cut out two pieces of fabric to the correct width and use one as the central panel. Cut the second piece in half lengthways and join to either side of the panel, matching the pattern if necessary. Use an ordinary flat seam and neaten the raw edges.

Plant Decoration

Herbaceous borders bring wonderful colour in summer but die down to next to nothing in the winter, so it is good to provide an evergreen structure of plants to get you through all the seasons. These can also contribute to the ‘architecture’ of the garden, creating levels, screens, and even sculpture. You can plan to have taller shrubs at the back of the borders, slowly graduating toward the front, or you can make more structured steps. You can arrange rows of small, lightly screening plants across the garden to create a living screen, and you can use specimen trees or neatly trimmed topiary as living sculpture.

The colour scheme can he planned against this basic structure. The decorative garden room is at its prettiest with plenty of colour. The structural shrubs and trees also can be chosen to make certain there is some colour all the year round — fruit trees for blossom in spring; shrub roses for summer colour and late-flowering clematis and wonderful berries, such as those of the pyracantha, in autumn, and of holly in winter. This display can he complemented by autumn-flowering bulbs such as colchicum, schizostylis, and cyclamen.

But the most variety of colours can be added with pots and containers. There is always a choice of seasonal colour at garden centres. By planting up in movable pots, you can easily put the colour where you want it and replant with new seasonal colour as the old blooms die.

Colour creates much more impact if it is kept to a theme — of blues and pinks, perhaps, or oranges and yellows. This theme can be strengthened with the use of paint and stain on nearby fences, garden buildings, furniture, or even the pots themselves.

Adding decorative colour

In a decorative garden, colour is very important. Not only can the paint you choose suggest mood and ambience, just as it does indoors, it can emphasize the colour scheme of the planting.

The surfaces you paint may be the house walls, walls of outside buildings, or the garden walls. Maybe you have a hopscotch of fencing and trellis work, all of slightly different woods and ages, that has resulted in a visual muddle. Paint them all in the same decorative finish, and you will have a much more coherent look. Or you may have newly erected trellis work that has a year or more to wait for a verdant covering of creepers. Paint it, and you will have a reasonable finish while you wait.

Colour can also be used to highlight areas. You may pinpoint an area destined for a particular colour scheme or you may wish to highlight the planting. Burnt-orange fencing would provide a stunning background for marigolds, while yellow picket would highlight the nodding heads of pansies. Painted fences and surfaces also lend colour throughout the year. They are particularly valuable in winter when many plants have died down.

Ideas with paint

Whether you want to paint your garden wall or a house wall that makes up part of the garden, there is plenty of inspiration to be had. Experiment not only with colour but with technique.

As well as straight colour, you can create depth by layering the colour. Try to add effects such as marble, stone, slate, or moss or by stenciling to a wall. The trick is to consider the scale of the garden.

These effects will have to be seen from much further away than they would be if used inside the house. Even a 10 m/30 ft garden is much larger than the average room, so everything has to be exaggerated a little.

An enchanting little pond, complete with fountain and cherub, adds colour and interest to a shady corner of the garden.

Although you may spend less time in the front garden, colourful plants growing by the door will create a welcoming impression.

Paint Practicalities

Any outdoor paint job has to be able to withstand a lot of beating from the weather, such as frosts, strong winds, torrential rain and the summer sun.

For this reason, it is best to use exterior-quality products. They are less likely to peel and flake, their colours are less likely to fade and they are specifically designed to protect the surface they are covering.

Alternatively, when decorating items such as pots and containers, which are not crucial to the garden structure, you can achieve a reasonably hard-wearing finish using a wider variety of paints over a primer, finished with a varnish.

Whatever you plan to paint or stain, it is important to use primers and varnishes that are compatible with each other, otherwise they may react adversely. Remember too that, if you have the patience and time, several thin layers of paint always produce a more enduring and better-looking finish than one thick one

Window Treatment Ideas

When planning a window treatment, think of the scheme as an integral part of the whole room. Consider the proportions of the window with respect to the rest of the room, the contents and the dominant colours. Successful window dressing should be part of the ensemble rather than influenced by the whim of fashion.

If you are starting from scratch, with bare walls and no furniture, then you almost have free range. For some, total freedom can be daunting, so if you have an existing carpet or soft furnishing fabric, take this as a starting point when making your fabric colour choice. The best way to choose colour is to do it on site, with the windows and the rest of your belongings around you. Look through glossy magazines, hooks about art, travel, style, food, gardens — anything where you see combinations of colours that appeal to you. This should he fun and not a chore, so feel free to draw inspiration from whatever appeals to you. It’s easy to become bewildered by choice when looking through fabrics in a store, so allow yourself time to consider the other options available.

Bear in mind, however, that your personal preference is the most important of all, so go with your instincts. There are so many reasons why we like or dislike a colour, so even if purple is the most fashionable colour of the moment but you find it depressing, avoid it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and one person’s boring beige is another’s delicious oatmeal. If you like the natural look, consider earthy reds, Oranges and browns that have been dyed with natural pigments. They are warm and restful and look good with ethnic trimmings and accessories.

Practically speaking, you should consider two main elements when deciding on which treatment to use —the weight of the fabric and the state of the wall. A heavy fabric needs the security of strong brackets supporting the pole. You will need brackets at both ends and possibly in the middle as well. It should stay level, not bow in the middle. Check the walls before you invest in the coveted iron pole. Old plaster does not always conceal sound masonry, and it will need to be rock solid. Check both sides of the windows.

If the fabric is light, it may need no more than a wooden dowel and two cup hooks. Sew a channel along the top of the curtain (drape), and feed the fabric on to the dowel to cover it. Then paint the small exposed ends. With this method, the hooks screw into the wooden window frame, so no drilling is needed. Curtain clips are another option for lightweight fabrics. You can adjust their spacing at will to change the way they drape and, with ring attachments, draw the curtains.

The very simplest no-sew way to drape a window is to use a pair of sheets over a pole. Simply throw them over and pull the back and front to the same length. The two sheets should meet in the middle of the pole and be

A selection of materials suitable for hanging, attaching and decorating curtains. Most materials are easily bought and are not difficult to use. It is worth going to a good fabric or furnishing store to ensure the widest selection of materials, such as rings, hooks, brackets, cord and wire pulled back to each side of the window. The idea can be adjusted to fit most windows. Any extra fabric could be arranged on the floor below for a touch of opulence. Fabrics like suit lining, mattress ticking and calico are ideal for draping this way. Allow about three times the drop of your window, and start in the middle at the top. Arrange folds and swags, pleating as you staple. Be creative, and don’t feel as if you have to copy any ‘correct’ way of draping the fabric. There are no set rules, just ideas and inspiration.

Watery Eyes

Watery Eye

Small babies often appear to have a perpetually watery eye. Sometimes they have an obstruction to the tear duct. This is a narrow canal leading from the inner corner of the eye (via a little hole at the surface that is often clearly visible) to the nasal passageway. Fluid is manufactured by the tear gland (the lachrymal gland) located above the eye and toward its outer margin. The idea is to supply plenty of fluid to keep the surface of the eye moist, and remove any debris or foreign material that may collect on the surface and cause damage.

Watery Eye Causes

Occasionally a filament of bone or membrane may block the canal. Baby commonly is born this way. It means tears cannot escape by the normal route, so they simply build up and flow over the lower margin of the eyelid, giving the appearance of an eternally moist eye, or that baby is crying, which is not really happening in most cases.

Watery Eye Treatment

Generally therapy is advisable. The blockage tends to cause an infection, and pus may well up into the inner corner of the eye, or infect the entire surface of the eye. Eye drops from the doctor may check this and occasionally the entire thing rights itself. But more likely it will be necessary for baby to have a small general anaesthetic, and for the eye specialist to “probe” the canal. The canal is then washed out, and the entire obstruction relieved and usually a permanent cure is quickly effected. Occasionally a second probing may be needed, but this is usually not required. Eye drops are used for a few days following the small operation. Presto! The eye is better, and no longer does baby have perpetual tears!

This condition is also known as “dacrocystitis.” Probing is usually not carried out until between the age of six to twelve months. But of course each patient is assessed individually


What is Osteoarthritis?

This occurs in all joints to a greater or lesser extent, and is part of the general degeneration of the body that occurs with advancing years. It commences commonly in the third decade, and is be expected. However, it is when the condition is in excess of the degree of degeneration that would normally expected that it comes into clinical prominence. It is wrapped up with the intrinsic strength of the cartilage of the joint itself, and the way in which it withstands the various biochemical attacks wear and tear, that are made on it.
Some people have an inherited predisposition to the complaint and this is termed “primary ostcoarthrosis.” usually affects many joints, typically the small joints of the fingers. Much more common is “secondary osteoarthrosis,” which follows on from some former injury in life. An accident or injury is a common cause; particularly the fracture has involved the joint. Obesity, through constant excessive trauma to the joints (such as the knees) from excessive weight, can predispose persons to it. Certain congenital disorders can later usher the complaint, as well as endocrine disorders. Or, as one authority succinctly summarises it, “Any factor that cause excessive joint trauma [damage] may lead to secondary osteoarthrosis.” The cartilage lining of the joint tends to soften, fragment and ulcerate as the damage progresses. In an effort to overcome this, nature manufactures new bone around the joint margins. This may have the effect of weakening the mechanics of the joint, increasing the rate of damage and produce greater inefficiency. This may take in any of the affected joints, whether they be in the vertebral column, hands or feet.


Primary osteoarthrosis

This inherited familial disorder that occurs more frequently in women. The ends of the fingers are usually affected and more bony swelling is observed s new bone formation takes place. Cysts filled with thick jellylike may develop. Acute pain may occur when this is taking place, but eventually ceases, and apart from some thickening of the bones of the fingers, there may not be a great deal of discomfort. In some cases there is often considerable deformity, but motion is often not greatly affected.
This may produce local stiffness and discomfort, but if nerve roots are pressed on, neurological symptoms may also be produced. Pain, and altered sensation (tingling, numbness, burning etc) may occur in the areas supplied by the involved nerves.
In the neck (cervical) region, the shoulders and upper limbs may be affected with these altered sensations. In the lower part (lumbar), the roots of the sciatic nerve may be involved and produce sciatic symptoms. Backache is common. If there is a disorder or collapse of the disc located between the vertebrae, then this may aggravate the situation, and accentuate the nerve root pressures.

Secondary osteoarthrosis.

This is the most common form, and is secondary to some form of joint injury. It may involve one or more joints, and this will be dependent on the basic cause. If joints have been injured through fractures, accidents, or past attacks of rheumatoid arthritis (which may have settled down), then these joints will be susceptible to osteoarthrosis and symptoms of the disease.
Weight-bearing tends to produce pain in affected joints, and this may limit walking, disturb sleep and cause irritation during the day. There may be a reduced range of movement of the affected joints, and this may be very important with large joints such as the hip. Morning stiffness, so typical of rheumatoid arthritis, is usually absent, and blood changes are minimum. X-rays show a loss of the normal cartilage and new bone growth. The rheumatoid factor is absent. All these checks help the doctor in arriving at a diagnosis.

Osteoarthritis Treatment

In the overall pattern, treatment is symptomatic. It is essential that the patient understand the basic nature of the disorder, its relation to past incidents and also its relation to age and occupation, past and present. This will help in a sensible attitude, which is essential. The usual types of drugs in the analgesia-anti-inflammatory range as are given for rheumatoid arthritis are frequently tried, and can often reduce pain arid improve the lot of the patient.
In severe cases, particularly if there is considerable pain present, resting the joint in splints may assist. Lumbar corsets that give support are often used. Reduction of weight in the obese helps, although not as much as one would like to think.
Using a walking-stick on the opposite side can bring excellent relief to a hip, and is claimed by some to be the greatest single factor in alleviating discomfort. Surgery has its place, and indeed, a considerable number of very worthwhile operations are now available that can entirely change the picture for patients severely affected. The hip, knee and other joints may be totally replaced with artificial devices, and the relief this gives (particularly in the hip) may be extremely gratifying. Other orthopaedic operations are available, and each has its place. It is essential for the patient to be fully assessed in each case before a decision to operate is made. This is carried out by the orthopaedic surgeon.
A hip replacement in which the head of the thigh bone is replaced by an artificial one, restoring mobility to the patient are popular and the frequency of these operations is advancing each year, and it seems only a matter time before some appliance is available for practically every joint of the body. The outlook generally is often favourable. Weight-bearing joints tend to fare the worst, particularly the hip. Strangely the knee often escapes from excessive disability, which is remarkable, for it is a constant weight-bearer. Generally speaking, it seems that practically every joint is now amenable to some form beneficial therapy.

How to Do Wall Tiling

The wall surface should be clean and dry. It is possible to tile over painted plaster or plasterboard (gypsum board), but old wall coverings should be removed and brick walls must be rendered. Note that modern tile adhesives allow tiling over existing tiles, so there is no need to remove these if they are securely bonded to the wall surface. There is also no need to fill minor cracks or holes; the tile adhesive will bridge these as it is applied to the wall surface.
When estimating quantities, first select the tile size, then set out the area to be riled on the wall using a device called a tiling gauge and use a batten(furring strip) to mark out the tile widths. Use the  marks to count how many tiles will he needed in each horizontal row and each vertical column. Count cut tiles as whole tiles, and then multiply the two figures together to reach the total required. Always add a further 5 per cent to the total to allow for possible breakages and miscalculations.


1. Use a pencil and one of the chosen tiles to mark up a straight piece of timber about 1.2 m/4 ft long, for use as a tiling gauge.

2. Hold the tiling gauge 110670m against the wall to see how many tiles each row will rake, and also to centre the tiling on a wall or window opening.

3. Similarly, hold the gauge vertically to assess how many tiles will till each column.


1. When tiling a small area with rows of whole tiles, use a cling gauge to mark the extent of the tiled area on the wall. Here each row will have five tiles.

2. Next, use a spirit level to mark a true horizontal base line axle which the first row of whole tiles will be fixed. Cut tiles will fit below it.

3. Then use the spirit level again to complete a grid of horizontal and vertical guidelines on the wall surface, ready for the support to be fixed.


1. Use masonry tacks to fix support battens(furring strips) to the wall aligned with the guide line. Drive the pins in only part of the way so that they can be removed later.


If the height of a tiled splash back is determined by a feature such as a mirror or window, position a row of cut tiles along the top of the panel.

If the width of the tilling is defined, as with a bath panel, always position cut tiles of equal size at either side.

Uterine Cancer Symptoms and Treatment

If cancer of the cervix is diagnosed, treatment in specialised centres is essential. Here full facilities are available and expert professional attention is possible. Very early cases are treated by hysterectomy. All other stages are now treated by the use of radiotherapy in most centres, although surgery in combination is also used. Radium, cobalt 60 and megavoltage X-ray therapy are the chief methods in use. This has a strikingly beneficial effect in destroying the rapidly multiplying cancer cells.

Although cervical cancer is the most common type seen, the disease can also occur in other parts of the uterus. Malignant changes can occur in the endometrium (the cells lining the womb).

The great majority of these occur in iv-omen who have passed the menopause, and the age range of from 55 to 65 years is the most prevalent.

A “typical” woman has been described who is more likely to develop this type of cancer. She is postmenopausal. During life her periods were most likely very heavy; the change of life was probably late probably extending beyond the age of 50. She may be unmarried, or if’ married. sterile. She is most likely overweight, may have elevated blood pressure, and may be a diabetic. Often, fibroids (noncancerous growths) are present in the uterus as well.

Uterine Cancer Symptoms

Symptoms are usually minimal. In early cases, the only one is a blood-stained discharge. It may be thin and watery, irregular but recurrent. It may be foul-smelling. This is nearly always in a woman during her menopausal years or afterwards.

It is axiomatic among doctors that any bleeding or blood-stained discharge appearing in a woman following the menopause must be considered due to cancer until proved otherwise.

Immediate investigation is usually ordered. This consists of a dilatation and curettage of the uterus, and the scrapings from this are examined by the pathology experts for cancer cells.

Uterine Cancer Treatment

If cancer is detected, treatment is carried out promptly. This is usually a surgical operation, although radiation is also used. Hormones have also been found to have a beneficial effect in reducing the cancer, and under certain circumstances, this is used in addition.

The earlier treatment is carried out, the better is the outcome. Therefore, every woman must be alert to the telltale symptoms.

Never neglect seemingly innocuous bleeding, and the older you are, the more important this becomes.

No apology is made for the recurring nature of these recommendations throughout this section. You will read it again and again. So please take special note. And act very promptly if this symptom comes your way.

When a smear test is taken, a glass slide containing cervical cells is sent to a pathology laboratory, stained, and then studied under the microscope by trained technicians who seek abnormal cells. Despite all care, about 10 per cent of positive cases arc missed, as there is a human factor.

Larger pathology laboratories have now installed computer-assisted technology to reduce incorrect reports. It is called Papnet, and is claimed to reduce wrong results to 1 per cent or less.

If there is any query, another smear will be taken and rechecked. It is claimed regular use of smear tests has reduced the rate of cervical cancer to 50 per cent, and new technology should improve this still further. Talk to your doctor.

Watering Plants

Feeding really does pay dividends. If you see a garden with particularly lush and healthy-looking plants, the chances are they have been well fed and supplied with sufficient water. Giving plants sufficient nutrients will ensure strong growth, abundant flowering and fruit production, and make them healthy enough to withstand pests and diseases.

Types of fertilizer

There are two groups of fertilizer: organic and inorganic. The organic ones are derived from natural ingredients, such as other plants (seaweed or nettles), blood, fish or bone, and generally last longer, although they tend to become available to the plant only slowly after application. Inorganic fertilizers are mineral-based and breakdown more quickly after application.

Feeding used to be a job that had to be tackled several times during the course of a season, and sonic enthusiasts still feed their plants once a week or even more frequently with liquid feeds. If you use modem slow-release and controlled-release fertilizers, however, feeding is something you can do just a couple of times a year.

Slow and controlled release fertilizers both allow the nutrients to seep out into the soil over a period of months, but the latter are affected by soil temperature. Nutrients are only released when the soil is warm enough for growth in most plants.

Liquid feeds are more instant in effect and still have a use, being invaluable when plants need a quick pick-me-up. This is especially true of feeds, which are applied directly to the leaves rather than the soil around the roots, and are absorbed straight into the plant’s system. These can have an effect within 3-4 days, compared with up to 21 days for a general granular fertilizer applied around the roots.

Applying fertilizer

In an established garden, you can apply fertilizer in granular form as a dressing around the plants early in the season, or in soluble form as the plants are watered during the spring. For a new plant, mix fertilizer with the soil as it is replaced in the planting hole around the root hall. Lawns will benefit from dressings of mixed weed-killer and fertilizer in the spring and autumn, keeping the grass healthy, and helping fight the effects of any dry periods in summer and cold spells in winter.


Lack of attention when plants are firstplanted can easily kill them if there hasnot been much rain recently.

The best water to use is rain water. If possible, use water butts or tanks connected to the down-water pipe to collect water that falls on the roof of the house, garage or any other building. Tap water can be used but it is best poured first into a barrel and left to breathe before you use it. This allows time for any chlorine used in the treatment of the water to be given off.

Beware hard water that comes from chalky (alkaline) areas. Although your soil may he acidic, the water from your tap may he collected, where the soil is alkaline. Hard water should not be used on ericaceous (lime-hating) plants.

The most important aspect of watering is to always be certain to give the plants a good soaking. A sprinkle on the surface is not enough. If in doubt, dig well into the soil and see how far the moisture has penetrated through the surface.

There are several methods of watering, but a can is probably best for a small number of plants. Alternatively, a garden hose with a spray attachment can be used. For a large number of plants use a sprinkler or dribble hose.

Feeding containers

Container plants require supplementary nutrients to keep them in good health. The quickest way to feed your lawn is with a wheeled spreader and you can usually adjust the delivery rate. Test the rate on a measured area of path first, then sweep up the fertilizer and weigh it to make sure the application rare is correct.


1 Give the plant a good soaking, covering the whole area around the plant where the roots will he. A watering can is ideal for a small area, such as around a newly planted plant that is still getting established.

A controlled- or slow-release fertilizer added to the potting soil at planting time will keep most containers blooming well all summer. Follow the instructions for application rates.

The N:P:K ratio

On the back of the pack of fertilizer, there should he some information about the nutrient it contains, the three most important elements being nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Nitrogen promotes healthy growth of leaves and shoots, phosphorus is needed for healthy root development and potassium improves flowering and fruit production. The ratio is given on the pack because certain plants need some elements in a greater quantity than others.


1. The quickest way to feed your lawn is with a wheeled spreader and you can usually adjust the delivery rate. Test the rate on a measured area of path first, then sweep up the fertilizer and weight to make sure the application rate is perfect.

2 An easy way to give your lawn a liquid boost is to use a sprinkler system into which you can introduce special fertilizer pellets. It will feed the lawn as it waters.

3 A dribble or seep hose is an efficient method of supplying water to exactly where it is needed. It is snaked around those plants that need to be watered and left permanently in position. It can be covered with a bark mulch, to hide it. When connected, it provides a slow dribble of water.


1. Give the plant a good soaking, covering the whole area around the plant where the roots will be. A watering can is ideal for as small area, such as around a newly plant that is still growing and establishing.

2. If you need to water a large number of plants, a sprinkler is a good method of providing water. To make certain that you provide sufficient water, place a jam jar or other container within the sprayed area, to give a rough idea of how much water has been delivered. It should be at least 2.5 cm/1 in full if the watering is to do any good.

3. A hose-ended sprayer like this is a good way to to apply a soluble fertilizer for a quick response. You can use this type of hose-ended sprayer for beds and borders as well as for the lawn.


1. Most established plants, benefit from annual feeding. Apply a slow- or controlled-release fertilizer in spring or early summer, sprinkling it around the bushes. Sprinkle it our further where most of the active root growth is.

2. Hoe it into the surface so that it penetrates the root area more quickly.

3. Unless rain is expected, water it in. This will make the fertilizer active more quickly in dry conditions

Preparing for Paperhanging

Unrestricted access is a must for paperhanging. When working on just the walls, move all the furniture to the centre of the room and cover it with dust sheets (drop cloths). When tackling the ceiling too, it is best to remove all the furniture completely if there is space to store it elsewhere in the house; otherwise group it at one end of the room so that most of the ceiling can be done, and then move it to the other end to complete the job.

Next, take down curtains and Hinds (drapes and shades) and remove wall-or ceiling-mounted tracks. Turn off the electricity supply at the mains, then disconnect and remove wall or ceiling light fittings as necessary, covering the bare wire ends thoroughly with insulating tape before restoring the power supply to the rest of the house. In the USA, ceiling roses, wall switch plates and socket outlets can be unscrewed and removed without disconnecting the wall receptacles or switches. Isolate, drain, disconnect and remove radiators, and unscrew their wall brackets. Call in a professional electrician or plumber for these jobs if you are unsure of how to do them safely.

Take down pictures, and remove other wall-mounted fittings such as shelves and display units. To make it easy to locate the screw holes afterwards, push a matchstick (wooden match) into each one.

Start paper hanging at the centre of a chimney beam (fireplace projection) if the wall covering has a large, dominant pattern. Otherwise start next to the door so the inevitable pattern break can be disguised above it.

Work outwards from the centre of a dormer window so the design is centred on the window recess.

If the walls and ceiling are at present painted, they need washing down to remove dirt, grease, smoke stains and the like. If they are decorated with another wall covering, this will have robe removed and any defects in the surface put right. Finally, they need sizing — treating with a diluted coat of wallpaper adhesive to even out the porosity of the surface and to help to improve the ‘slip’ of the pasted wall covering during hanging.

Measuring up

The next job is to estimate how many rolls of wall covering will be needed to decorate the room. If using a material that comes in standard-sized rolls, simply measure the room dimensions and refer to the charts given here for the number of rolls needed to cover the walls and ceiling. They allow for atypical door and window area; fewer rolls are needed for a room with large picture windows or wide door openings. If using a paper-backed cloth covering which comes in a non-standard width, measure up each wall, and ask the supplier to estimate what length of material you will need; such materials are too expensive to waste. Walls are sufficient roils with the same hatch coverings in the USA vary in width number; colours may not match exactly and length but arc usually available in-between hatches.

Table Flower Decorations

A garland is a lovely way to decorate a table indoors or out — for a special occasion such as a wedding or christening reception, a birthday, or any other celebration. You can make the garland to loop across the front of the table, to encircle the rim, or to drape on all four sides of a free-standing table. Long, leafy stems work extremely well for this type of decoration. With its pliable stem and mass of bright green leaves; this forms a natural garland, and makes an attractive instant decoration, even without the addition of flowers.

Smilax is usually sold to order in bundles of 5 stems. Keep the stem ends in water until just before you assemble the garland, and the foliage should stay fresh for several days. Mimosa, gypsophila and spray chrysanthemums all make a good accompaniment for a bright, summery look.


Floral and foliage garlands are very simple to make and as they are almost invariably composed of short-stemmed plant materials, they can utilize clippings from larger designs. Side shoots of delphinium cut from stems arranged in a pedestal design; individual spray-chrysanthemum flowers that formed too dense a cluster; florets and leaflets that would come below the water level in a vase— you can form them all into posies and hind them on to a garland using silver wire.

Garlands can be composed on a central core. According to the weight of the plant materials, this may vary from tightly coiled paper ribbon, thin string, twine or wire, to thick rope or even a roll made of wire-mesh netting filled with off cuts of absorbent stem-holding foam. This latter core has the advantage of providing fresh flowers in a garland with a source of moisture.

It will save time just before the event if you make up the posies in advance. Choose materials that will contrast well with the bright foliage of the garland. Cut the flower stems short, using 5 or 6 pieces of gypsophila, 2 small snippings of mimosa, and either 1 or 2 spray chrysanthemums, according to their size. Gather the stems together and bind them with silver wire.

You can space the posies as close together or as wide apart on the garland as you wish, so make up as many as you will need. As a general rule, the smaller the table, the smaller the gap should be between the flowers. Once you have assembled the posies, place them in a shallow howl of water before attaching them to the garland.

Measure the length, of garland needed for the side drapes and mark the centre. With the stems of the first posy towards the end of one of the lengths of foliage, hind the posy to the main stem with silver wire. Bind on more posies in the same way, reversing the direction of the stems when you reach the centre of the draped garland. Repeat the decoration with the remaining lengths of garland, but without reversing the direction of the flowers of the side trails.

Pin the garland to the cloth, adjusting the fall of the drape so that it is equal on all sides, and pin on the side trails. Check that the garland hangs well. Sometimes the weight of the posies will cause it to twist, with the flowers facing inwards. If this happens, pin the garland to the cloth at intervals. Pin lengths of ribbon to the corners, and tie more lengths into bows and attach to the centres of the drapes.

A garland of dried flowers, wired on topper ribbon and finished off with an extravagant bow, makes a beautiful table decoration. The garland will retain its crisp and colourful appearance throughout the day, and can be carefully packed away and used another time.