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How to make concrete

Assemble your tools and an able assistant.

Dampen the area to be covered, which preferably includes a crack.

Tip most of the cement into the barrow. Keep some in the bag in case — as with icing — you make the mixture too sloppy.

Gloves are optional. I like drawing them.

Pour water by cupfuls into the cement, stirring as you go with a spade and, if you like, a piece of kindling.

To test for consistency, fill a cup with the mixture then invert and empty it, as you do a sand castle. The slurry should slump to half its original height. Add more cement or water accordingly.

Seize the ready moment and tip the mixture into the corner.

Pounce on it with your trowel. Shape and smooth the concrete into place. Admire its gleaming surface.

Hunt around the house for beads and buttons.

Sit in the sun beside the concrete puddle and idly stick them in. When your pattern is complete, poke the beads down a little harder. Let them be gripped.

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