Author Archives: Ramon.KGS

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.

Stenciling Equipment

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 ways 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 material used 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 reuse 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

Stem Cutting

Many plants, for the garden and indoors, can be raised from stem and leaf cuttings. The techniques are easy, and you will gain even more pleasure from your plants by seeing them grow from the start.

Taking stem cuttings

Most houseplants can be propagated of from softwood cuttings taken in spring, and many of the shrubby plants root from semi-ripe cuttings taken later in the year. The method of taking softwood cuttings is similar to that of semi-ripe cuttings (see right), but choose the ends of new shoots. Take softwood cuttings after the first flush of spring but before the shoots have become hard, and follow the same procedure as for semi-ripe cuttings. Geranium (pelargonium) soft woodcuttings root readily, and are therefore good to try if you are a beginner.

Softwood cuttings — especially easy ones such as coleus and impatiens — can often be rooted in water. Fill a jam-jar almost to the top with water and fold apiece of wire-netting (chicken wire) over the top. Take the cuttings in the normal way but, instead of inserting them into compost (potting soil); rest them on the netting, with the ends of the stems in water. Top up the water as necessary. When roots have formed, pot up the cuttings into individual pots.

Taking leaf cuttings

Some of the most popular houseplants, such as saint paulias, foliage begonias, streptocarpus and sansevierias, can be raised from leaf cuttings, using a variety of methods. For leaf-petiole cuttings, you need to remove the leaves with a length of stalk attached. For square-leaf cuttings, instead of placing a whole leaf on the compost (medium), cut it into squares and insert these individually. With leaf-midrib cuttings, slice the long, narrow leaves of plants such as streptocarpus into sections and treat them as for square-leaf cuttings.

Make the cuttings 10-15 cm/4-6 in long, choosing the current season’s growth after the first flush of growth but before the whole shoot has become hard. Fill a pot with a cuttings compost (medium) or use a seed compost, and firm it to remove any large pockets of air.

Trim the cutting just below a leaf joint, using a sharp knife, and remove the lower leaves to produce a clear stem to insert into the compost.

Dip the cut end of-the cutting into a rooting hormone. If using a powder, moisten the end in water first so that it adheres. Make a hole in the compost with a small dibber or a pencil, and insert the cutting so that the bottom leaves are just above the compost. Firm the compost gently around the stem to remove large air pockets. You can usually insert several cuttings around the edge of a pot.

Water the cuttings, then label and place in a propagator, or cover the pot with a clear plastic bag, making sure that it does not touch the leaves. Keep in a light place, but out of direct sunlight. If lot of condensation forms, reverse the bag or ventilate the propagator until excess condensation ceases to form. Do not allow the compost to dry out. Pot up the cuttings once they have formed a good root system.

USING ROOTING HORMONES

Some plants, such as impatiens and some trade scantias, root readily even without help from a rooting hormone. Others, and especially semi-ripe cuttings, will benefit from the use of a rooting hormone. Rooting hormones are available as powders or liquids, and their use usually results in more rapid rooting and, in the case of the trickier kinds of plants, a higher success rate

TAKING LEAF-PETIOLE CUTTINGS

Use only healthy leaves that are mature but not old. Remove the leaf with about5 cm/2 in of stalk, using a sharp knife or razor blade. Fill a tray or pot with a suitable rooting compost (medium), then make a hole with a dibber or pencil.

Insert the stalk into the hole, angling the cutting slightly, then press the compost gently around the stalk to firm it in. The base of the blade of the leaf should sit on the top of the compost. You should be able to accommodate a number of cuttings in a seed tray or large pot. Water well, preferably with the addition of a suitable fungicide, and then allow any surplus moisture to drain away.

Place the cuttings in a propagator, or cover with a clear plastic hag. Make sure that the leaves do not touch the glass or plastic, and remove condensation periodically. Keep the cuttings warm and moist, in a light place out of direct sunlight. Young plants usually develop within a month or so and can then he potted up individually, but leave them until they are large enough to he handled easily

TAKING SQUARE-LEAF CUTTINGS

First cut the leaf into strips about 3 cm/11/4 in wide, in the general direction of the main veins, using a sharp knife or razorblade (be sure to handle the latter very carefully). Cut across the strips to form small, even-sized squares of leaf.

Fill a tray with a rooting compost (medium), then insert the squares on edge, with the edge that was nearest to the leafstalk facing downwards. Once the young plants are well-established, after a month or so, pot them up individually.

TAKING LEAF-MIDRIB CUTTINGS

Remove a healthy, undamaged leaf from the parent plant – ideally one that has only recently fully expanded.

Place the leaf face-down on a firm, clean surface, such as a sheet of glass or piece of wood. Cut the leaf into strips no wider than 5 cm/2 in.

Fill a pot or tray with a writing compost (medium), and insert the cuttings 2.5 cm/1 in apart, with the end that was nearest the stalk downwards. Pot up the plants when they are large enough to handle

PLANTS TO GROW FROM LEAF CUTTINGS

– Begonia rex (Leaf-petiole cuttings)

– Begonias (other than B. rex)

– Peperomia caperata

– Peperomia metallica

– Saintpaulia Leaf-midrib cuttings

– Gesneria

– Sansevieria

– Sinningia speciosa (gloxinia) Streptocarpus

Plaster Wall Repair

Plasterboard (gypsum board) is an immensely versatile material for lining walls and ceilings, as it provides a smooth surface for any finish and also has useful sound-deadening and fireproofing properties. The one thing it does not do very well is to resist impacts, and resulting holes cannot simply be patched with filler (spackle)because the board’s strength will have been lost at the point of damage. The solution is either to strengthen the board or to replace it section altogether.

Very small holes can he disguised with self-adhesive scrim rape and cellulose filler, but holes more than about 5 cm/2 in across need a more substantial repair. Use an off cut of plasterboard and cut a piece slightly narrower than the hole width and twice as long as its height to use as a patch. Pierce a hole in it, thread through a piece of string, tie one end to a nail and pull this against the face of the patch. Then hurter some plaster or filler on to the other face of the patch and push it into the hole, keeping hold of the string with the other hand. Position the patch against the inner face of the plasterboard, pulling on the string to help the filler stick it in place. When it has stuck fast, fill the hole and cut off the string.

For larger holes — a foot through the ceiling, for example — in plasterboard and (in older properties) lath-and-plaster surfaces, the only solution is to cut out the damaged piece and nail on a new section in its place. You will need to fix supports around the edges of the opening where you have cut out the damaged section. Fill the cut edges, apply joint tape to hide them and then skim over the patch with a little plaster to complete the repair.

Patching Small Holes in Plasterboard

1 Cut a plasterboard patch slightly longer and narrower than the hole, and thread a length of string with a nail tied on through it hole in its centre.

2. Butter some plaster or filler (spackle) on to the edges of the patch and feed it end -on into the hole, keeping hold of the string with the other hand.

3. Pull the string to hold the patch against the rear face of the board, then fill the recess with either plaster or filler and cut off the string.

4. Complete the repair by applying a skim coat of plaster over the patch. Flick water on to the plaster with a brush and polish it smooth with a steel float.

Patching a Larger Hole in Plasterboard

1. It the plasterboard surface is more extensively damaged, cut through it with sharp knife back to the adjacent wall studs or ceiling joists.

2. Cut across to the stud or joist centres, then make 2 vertical cuts down the centre of the stud or joist to free the damaged panel and remove it.

3. Cut 2 strips of wood to fit between the studs/joists, and screw or nail them into place so that they will support the edges of the main board and the patch.

4. Cut a plasterboard patch to match the section removed, and nail it into place. Fill and tape the joints and skim plaster over the repair, then polish with a steel float.

5. If the wood laths are split or broken, pull them away from the surface. Remove any loose sections of plaster from around the site of the damage.

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

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.

MAKING AND USING TILING GAUGE

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.

MARKING OUT A SPLASHBACK

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.

FITTING TILE SUPPORTS

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.

POSITIONING CUT TILES FOR PANELS

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.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Sometimes in patients who have undergone removal of the stomach (most probably from severe peptic ulceration) a similar situation can occur. However, as the liver can store vitamin B12 with amounts that may last up to five years, it may be several years after surgery that the symptoms will commence. In other patients who have bowel disorders, there may be interference in folic acid absorption. A condition called Crohn’s disease may be present, or there may have been surgical removal of part of the bowel, coeliac disease, sprue and certain other disorders.

During pregnancy there is a large increase in the body’s need for folic acid. For this reason, folic acid is now given routinely together with iron to all women during pregnancy.

Some patients on drug medication for other conditions have their folic-acid supplies adversely affected. This ma y include drugs taken for epilepsy, and certain sulfa drugs, to name some of the more common ones implicated.

Apart from affecting the red cells. these deficiencies may also adversely affect the production of the white cells and platelets, both of which may be reduced in numbers. This in turn may produce serious symptoms and conditions attributed to this.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms

The symptoms will be a combination of the usual symptoms of anaemia, plus symptoms of the underlying cause. A glossitis (sore, red tongue) usually occurs as well. The blood picture shows abnormal cells, and there is a reduced number of white cells and platelets.

Inadequate vitamin B12 may also react adversely on the nervous system, producing a serious condition called subacute combined degeneration of the spinal cord. This also produces symptoms that are described under the nervous system. It is essential that this condition be treated early, for damage to the cord may be rectified with prompt early treatment.

But if left, these changes may be permanent, much to the discomfort of the patient. Tests are available that directly measure the blood levels of folic acid and vitamin B12. (Refer to the section on vitamins for a list of foods rich in these substances.)

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Treatment

Therapy is very satisfactory, and the results relatively prompt. Once the diagnosis has been established, the doctor will most likely order folic acid in tablet form, commonly giving 5 mg three times a day.

Vitamin B12 is usually given in the form of an injection. Over the years the exact chemical formulation has changed. It used to be cyanocobalamin. often injected weekly by the doctor or district nurse. However. this has now changed to a related product called hydroxocobalamin 1000 (equals 1 000 micrograms/ ml) that is claimed to offer adequate protection if given once each three months by injection. This is now the routine in Australia and New Zealand for pernicious anaemia patients. Nevertheless, many older patients claimed they felt better on their monthly or bimonthly shots of B12 in the older form.

The injections may he necessary for the rest of the patient’s life. They are painless and adverse side effects are extremely uncommon. It is a small price to pay for a supplement that yields such dramatic and beneficial results.

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Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms