My wife had bought it for me as a present for my birthday. I won't tell you how long ago that was, but I knew one day I would use it. Originally I wanted to try and sculpt my own dolls with it, but the shepherd's crook was the first project I used it for. Perhaps because it had been sitting for awhile it was stiff to work with at first. I found that I didn't need a very large piece to roll out thin enough for a staff. Once I kneaded it a bit, it became easier to work with and I was able to easily shape it into a crook. It was rather limp, so I wasn't sure if it was going need some extra support inside. I put it in the oven on a round tray (which was too small for it and I hoped it wouldn't wilt as a result - it didn't).
I'm not sure what it smelled like as I baked it because I baked a tuna casserole and I'm sure one smell overpowered the other. I also thought it would change colors after baking but it didn't. It felt firm after I took it out of the oven and put it aside to cool. Here it is all cooled off. Now I have to get some brown acrylic paint to paint it. The surface of the crook is bumpy, and I wanted it that way, as though the crook were made of a piece of natural wood.
Now the trick will be attaching it to her hand. I know I want to use glue, but I'm not sure about how to hold it in the position I want it in until the glue dries. Plus I don't want globs of glue dripping down her hand on her dress. I suppose I could put fabric over her dress to protect it.
I had thought about using a stick pin to hold the crook in position in her hand while the glue sets; we'll see if that turns out to be a good idea.