I decided this was the year to get a nativity set to display at Christmas.
When I first saw this one from Haba, I fell in love. But there's no way I'll pay close to $100 for something we'll only have out one month a year. The most conventional (and inexpensive) option for children seems to be this one from Fisher-Price, but I'm not a huge fan of the goofy plastic figurines. And then there's Etsy. I began searching for handmade wood sets and found some quite expensive ones where the seller had just taken commonly-found wooden shapes from a craft store and painted them.
I could do that.
I already have a huge stash of non-toxic craft paint, so I just had to find the right wooden forms. Michaels was sold out of peg dolls, which would have been my first choice, but they did have some nice smooth "goose eggs" and round knobs.
This is accidental soft focus, because I didn't realize until after I took these pictures that there were fingerprints all over the lens. Maybe it gives it more of an ethereal look?
I didn't want a lot of fussy details so I had to pick just one feature to add to each person. Joseph has a five-o-clock shadow (he's been up all night, you know) and Mary has a radiant glow.
My wise men, with silver crowns and exotic mustaches.
Two freaked-out shepherds and their flock. I kind of like them without beards.
Total cost of materials was around $24. If I could do one more thing, I'd finish them with a beeswax polish to seal them up and make them just a little shinier. But I couldn't resist handing them over to the kids already.