When I have displayed gnome home bark carvings, I have been frequently asked, "What do the gnomes look like?” Well, way back in the annals of time, I had whittled out a few "tomten" (actually a lot of them), which became my gnomes. They had tall hats which were sometimes crooked and sometimes decorative, and I gave them away to collect dust on someone else's shelf. My tomten/gnomes had big loopy cartoon eyes, crooked noses and, in fact, crooked, uneven everything.

If you are lucky enough to find gold at the end of a rainbow, you can bet that there just may be a leprechaun hiding close by guarding it. For those of you who aren't prone to chasing Rainbows, you can carve this fun project from William Gray and have a leprachaun and pot of gold of your very own.

If you have not carved in cottonwood bark, I heartily suggest that you give it a try. I love to carve it. For faces, I like a piece that is at least 3 inches thick and a minimum of 3 inches wide. You need to have larger pieces because you will lose part of the depth during the cleanup process.

This project could be completed in many different types of wood. It should be a hardwood but harder (and more attractive) than basswood. Any of the furniture-grade hardwoods, such as cherry, mahogany, walnut, or others like these, would be good. Because the design is so simple, a figured wood or one with very visible grain should be avoided. The wood could be glued up to attain the required width but a single board is preferred.

Carved wooden signs are often used to identify the owners of cabin and vacation homes, in some parts of the country - notably Nantucket Island, Massachusetts - individual houses are named or set off with a humorous title, always carved in wood. Pine is the most common material for such signs because of its weather-resistant properties.