Ta-dah! Here are the nativity centerpieces I finally settled on for our church Christmas party this year. I tried a couple other options and just didn't like them. I made this cute little guy up myself. I traced my manger/baby pattern onto 2" wood, the hay onto 1/4" wood. I went ahead and used the lame plywood I have been storing and hating for a couple months. I figured this was just the right project to use it for since hay is rather rustic and full of lines like the dumb plywood. Can you tell I am having hard feelings against the poor lumber. I am really struggling finding good materials around here...but that is a soapbox for another day.
As simple as this project should have been *that's right, here it comes* it turned into a nightmare on the eve of the party. Bright and early Friday morning I went out into my garage to start cutting. I cut all the wood into blocks, then traced the patterns. Sadly, when I tried to cut one manger out, I came to the conclusion that my band saw blade was simply too warn out to use even one more time. I had to stop then anyway with children up and stir-crazy.
Later in the day I attempted again. I searched high and low until I found where my hubby put the instruction manual. Somehow I managed to take the blade of the bicycle -y contraption known as my band saw. I grabbed the back-up blade I purchased when I bought the machine, the very blade the sales person assured my was for my saw. Once I ripped open the package I swiftly discovered that the blade was only 10" too long. My saw calls for a 70" blade and this one was an 80" blade :0} *breath* Never mind that I don't have a car during the day and that my husband has been working into the night since our trip to California making going to the store impossible. No, we will not panic...will not...we can do this. Again, somehow, I got the old blade back on the machine and attempted to cut again. It was really bad this time. I took the old blade off and called my husband. This call, needless to say, involved a little voice raising and, perhaps, a tear or two*have I mentioned that I haven't slept since August ;0)
Also not working for me was my vitally important sanding disc. You see, all the big-box chain hardware stores carry sanding discs in 5" and 7" sizes. My disc sander is OF COURSE NOT one of those sizes!!! It is 12" making it impossible to run to the store and pick one up!!! I spent half the day trying to figure out what a store that carried them would label themselves so I could find them on Google, the other half finding out that they all close at 5pm :op
I will spare you some of the trauma. One dear soul, thanks Leonard, came over and helped us after 2 hours of trying to install the new band saw blade my husband left work early to go buy. Then he let my husband come over and cut half of the wood on his own saw while I cut the rest at home. We ran all of the mangers through his sander and headed home where 3 sweet friends of mine were waiting to help paint. They stayed til midnight. Aren't midnight friends the best!
I went to bed very sad that some of my baby Jesus' still had rough spots on their faces even though they took a ride through the worst face scraping any of us has ever seen :0) Sat. morning I shot up out of bed, renewed in my desire to make this work. I dragged my Hubby with me all the way, something like 35 miles away, to north Peoria to a woodworking store in hope that the sanding disc soon would be there...It was!!! Scott installed it before he left for work...that was when I really kicked into gear. I took each one of my 30 centerpieces and re-sanded their tiny faces. I touched up any rough spots on the curve of their heads too. Sanding them all meant that I had to re-paint, but at least I could admit that I made them :0) My friends all know I am an obsessive-compulsive nut, right?
I didn't worry about re-sanding the manger part...it's a manger! It is supposed to be rough!
Once painted...again...I blushed the cheeks, dabbed the eyes with paint on the end of a paintbrush, and glued on the hay. Did I mention that I made these guys 2-sided? I did. If they were going to be in the middle of the table, someone was bound to be facing the back. I drilled a small hole in the side and stuck the wire-wrapped star in there. I really wanted to glue on a small heart right where the baby's heart would have been, but in all the madness of cleaning my house for bunco I forgot where I put them :0) I am not ashamed to tell you how bad I am. It is bound to make someone out there feel better.
Anyway, with not heart I settled for the holly. Not the best, but better than nothing.
With a few moments to spare I went ahead and made this sign to sit there on the table too. I needed something with a little color so we painted the blocks red.
As usual, I couldn't decide on the saying. That is why half said "Silent Night" and half said "Unto us a child is born" I bought a digital kit to make the signs. The digital kit came from Pickleberrypop. I searched "Nativity" and found it for $3.50. Now, of course, it is only $1.50 :0)
Well, it seems the centerpieces were a hit. That or everyone lied to me :0) And can you believe it, we were able to find homes for each and everyone of our wooden babies after the party! 30 mangers-with-child that didn't get turned away into the cold with nowhere to be but a barn :0)
Merry Christmas Everyone!!! Mine is a little merrier now that this project is finished, but it was actually rather fun to make. Thanks again to all the friends that helped. I couldn't have done it without you!
Especially you Scott XOXOXO
The things that man puts up with...