Sunday, 15 December 2013

Carving a bedbug from alabaster

This is a talisman for someone who has recently endured a nasty bedbug infestation. Their solution to move house was probably more effective than any warding off of evil with talismans or other such mumbo-jumbo, but it was obviously a good excuse to get carving and I struggled to find a bedbug talisman in the Christmas shops...

I toyed with using the dremel on this, but way too much dust, so did it by hand with a saw, chisel, rasps, a knife a few micro-files.  Took about an hour and half...

Carving a bedbug

It starts with a lump of rock, very soft rock - alabaster - foraged off a beach at Blue Anchor in Somerset a few years ago.
Carving a bedbug

I had a look at some frankly disturbing pictures found using a google images search for "bedbug scanning electron"

bedbug from NHM

I always need to do a few drawings to fix the shapes in the mind. (They don't need to be good ones, as you can tell)
Carving a bedbug

Then used a hacksaw to cut off larger protuberances to start to get the outline shape in 3 dimensions..
Carving a bedbug

Then grate it down roughly to size with a monstrous rasp my father gave me (it's about18" long)
Carving a bedbug

With the rasp I formed a carving blank, that was roughly the intended outline of a bedbug...
Carving a bedbug

I drew out the details of the legs, then carved these with an old woodcarving chisl. Don't use a working chisel for this unless you like sharpening chisels a lot...
Carving a bedbug

Obviously, oy can't use a vice as the rock would crack, so I held it in my hand. Also obvious was a chisel puncture wound. It's not real carving if you don't draw blood. At least it wasn't the rasp...
Carving a bedbug

Some fine files (in hand) and steel clay modelling tools (on right) are very handy to scratch out the patterm of legs and biting mouthparts
Carving a bedbug

Loads of fiddling later, I used fine grit carborundum paper (240 grit wet and dry paper basically) to smooth and polish. If have lots of time, you can progressively use finer grades, or emery paste to get a super fine finish. You can even use bathroom scouring cream cleaner. Quite good for fine polishing
Carving a bedbug

Here's the dorsal surface (ie. the bedbug carapace)
Carving a bedbug

And wet it to see the detail. To get  this effect, you can use spray lacquer. And that's it...
Carving a bedbug

Monday, 2 December 2013

Making chilli Scotch Eggs

Scotch eggs - they're awesome, aren't they? Especially with chipotle chilli and chorizo in the mix - yum!
Finished, cooked Scotch eggs

Here's the kit.

  • Decent quality sausages (80%+ meat or grind your own pork shoulder or belly pork)
  • Celery seeds, rock salt, black pepper
  • Eggs
  • Chorizo and chipotle
Scotch egg ingredients

Boil up some eggs, but not too hard. 5 minutes is plenty. They cook more later, so the aim is the softest set egg you can get out of a shell unruptured - much less than 4 minutes and it is liable to break on shelling!
Boiled egg

Squeeze the meat from the sausage skins...
Scotch eggs - squeezing out sausage meat

Mashed finely chopped chorizo in with the sausage meat and wrap round the eggs
Shaping Scotch eggs

Roll into a ball...
Shaping Scotch eggs

Coat in beaten egg...
Scotch eggs - applying egg wash for breadrumbs

Roll in fresh bread crumbs (that is, fresh bread in a blender, not old manky dry crumbs)
Scotch eggs - applying breadrumbs

Keep rolling...

Scotch eggs - applying breadrumbs

Until nicely coated...
Scotch eggs - applying breadrumbs

Put on an oven tray...
Raw Scotch eggs coated not seasoned

Season with salt, pepper, chipotle and ground celery seed
Raw Scotch eggs coated and seasoned

and BAKE!

needs about 30 minutes, turning as required to cook evenly