I remember playing the Kalimba while Jim and his son washed gourds. "Music makes the work go faster." Jesse said. The gourds dried in the California sun, ready to be made into more rattles, perhaps, or special bowls.
I've used miniture gourds for armature for my dolls. You can see the distinct shape of the gourd in my Prosperity Doll. I've used it for a couple of little figures as well.