I am always looking for easy projects that will help a newer whittler/carver practice, learn, and improve. This little "twistee-pointer stick" or Christmas tree ornament will do that. This project is designed to provide repetitive knife cuts that will help one get familiar with their pocket or carving knife.
Start with a 1/2" X 1/2" X 6" piece of Basswood, and a sharp knife. The first thing to do is to carve a 5-minute owl at one end of the stick (first piece at the left). This 5-minute owl makes use of stop cuts, slice cuts, and plunge cuts. After the owl is completed, taper the bottom of the piece to its end (second piece from the left). At this point, you are ready to make a tapered-twisting-spiral stop cut from the bottom of the owl to the bottom tip of the piece (second piece from the left). Next, use the knife to make small cuts to the spiraled stop cut (third piece from the left). And, finally, if you wist you can "kind of round off the spiral" by removing small chips from the other side of the spiral (forth piece from the left).
Do a bunch of these and you'll be amazed at how much more knife control you develop.
Do some with a Santa head instead of the 5-minute owl, for a Christmas tree ornament.