I discovered a new purpose for the bag of kindling that I had purchased from a local gas station: it not only made for great fire starters for the fireplace in the family room at Christmas, it was also an inspiration for carving.
I grabbed a few of the kindling sticks (Maple, I think), noticed the bark was still attached to some of the rough twigs, and wondered how they might work for practicing with my new carving tools. To my delight, the kindling worked well enough as a base into which I could apply the wood-sprite motif - roughed in using hand-held blades, followed by a few finishing touches using a Dremel rotary tool.
My wife thought they would make interesting little features in her planters, so the photographs show an example placed in her Jade pot. The kindling is about 25cm x 3 cm x 2 cm. I am going to see if the wood will tolerate a drill hole at the base to insert a small dowel for inserting the twigman into the potting soil (to keep the figures standing). I will post an update when I check this out.
A friend of mine, let me borrow a dozen or so cans of remnants of various staining and wood preservative products to experiment with. The darker wood -sprite figure (Fig 1) is treated with a Min-Wax Red Mahogany stain, and the lighter is called Puritan Pine (Fig 2). The figure at the bottom (Fig 3) was stained with a darker stain and lightly sanded leaving an antique-like duo-tone finish. Shellac applied over top. I tried using Shellac only (Fig 4), and a combination of Pine Stain and Shellac (Fig 5)