Combine elipses to create the outline of a bowling pin, then use gradients to create the shadowing effect for that new object.
A good explanation on snapping(connecting) nodes is also introduced in this tutorial.
Use rotation and duplicates to easily make designs like snowflakes and nuclear symbols. To get the degrees measurement for a snowflake with 6 points, you divide 360 by 6 (which equals 60). You divide into 360 because there are 360 degrees in a circle.
This is a different and unique way to turn text into an Path, and draw it along a curved line using the pencil or pen tools. The technique can also be used with any other shape, like stars, spirals, or your own creation.