It was a good year for me. This is the last nickel carving of 2011. (#26) I used a lot of the elements that were in the original buffalo motif. The back of the dog is the top of the buffalo's head with very little adjustment. The tip of his tail is the buffalo's horn, the legs of the bench were once buffalo legs. The knot tied around the hobo's peg leg is the tip of the buffalo's beard. Since it was just flat recessed metal below that, I gave him a peg leg since there wasn't any raised metal to create a matching leg.
I call this the "cloud method" of finding other designs within the outlines of the original design. I find they look more natural this way, using the raised parts of the old design to create the raised parts in the new design. The other method would be to just smooth out everything and carve whatever.
I currently have a starting bid of $1000 for this piece which will be sold along with five other carvings at the FUN show in Orlando next week. Up to ten other carvers will be there demonstrating their art at the OHNS table. See you there and have a Happy New Year!