Modern Peg Doll Nativity Set

DIY MCM Modern Nativity Set by Brave New HomeThis is going to be my last Christmas project to share with you, sniff sniff.  I think I saved the best for last though my Nordic gnomes take a close second.

I had been wanting a nativity set for years but the ones I kept finding were either pricey, kitschy or worse, both.  I wanted something simple, modern and not fragile as we tend to move quite a bit.  Since we have kids I didn’t want anything too precious either.  These dolls can easily be handled so kids can have a sensory learning experience.wood pieces for nativityFor this DIY nativity, I used seven 3″ wooden dolls, one  2″ wooden doll, one  1 1/8″ wooden doll, one 1.5″ wooden ball, two 1″ balls, one small wooden bowl, cardboard, chopsticks, toothpicks, acrylic paints, felt, a brown paper bag and a hot glue gun.  I had originally intended to make the barn out of plywood after making a prototype out of cardboard but I have been juggling so many different crafts (and the cardboard one turned out just fine) I decided to stick with the cardboard for the time being.penciling shapes on wooden dollsI started by sketching what I wanted to paint.  I think I really improved my techniques for painting on three dimensional wooden surfaces since painting my nesting dolls.  The key here is to think in layers.  One thing that also helped was writing the name on the character on the bottom.  Cause when you are painting in layers everything starts by looking pretty nondescript. sanding bottom of wood ballI also sanded the bottom of the balls (which became a donkey and sheep) to keep them from rolling all over the place.painting in layersThis what things looked like after my first layer of paint.

I decided that baby Jesus needed a MCM bullet style manger.  Probably (okay, definitely) not the most historically accurate depiction but man am I crushing on those MCM bullet planters right now!  And with their price tags I need to get this obsession out of my system.mid century manger with chopsticksI cut off the ends of two takeout chopsticks (who knew I would go through my whole supply of takeout chopsticks at Christmastime of all seasons?).affixing legs to bullet mangerThen I glued them to the bottom and later painted them white.toothpick star for mangerTo make the barn, I cut out pieces of cardboard and hot glued them together.  I topped it off with a little star made of toothpicks.MCM modern DIY nativity setPretty fun, right?  Are you sort of feeling the MCM vibe seeing it all together now?  baby Jesus in bullet mangerFor manger filling I crumpled up some brown paper bag shreds but I’m sure some of the store bought crinkle stuff will cycle through us during all the gift giving later this week and I can upgrade.peg doll nativity charactersI had another shepherd boy but my son wanted to make a baby Jesus, too.  He’s been collecting lint out of the dryer’s lint trap for weeks making a soft bed for his baby Jesus.  Yeah, I get it.  Brown paper bag crumples don’t scream comfort.mary joseph baby jesus peg dollOne of the surprising challenges of this project were the paint colors.  I think I painted Mary’s dress three times just trying to get that perfect shade of blue.

One difference between this painted wood project and my last one is that I painted on the faces instead of drawing them on with a permanent marker.  I turned my paint brush upside down, dipped the handle in paint, and dotted the eyes.  I think it’s an improvement overall.arch angel peg dollI glued some felt wings on the angel.  I wanted to add a fake gold ring for a halo but I also didn’t want to make her too ornate to draw attention away from the other characters.peg doll wisemenThe wise men were also difficult to paint.  I wanted the set to be muted overall but after I painted on their robes they looked pastel so I repainted them in more saturated tones.  Not sure if I’m sold on these yet.

And while we’re on the topic of wise men can I just have a mom moment here?wiseman in school playMy four-year-old was one of the wise men in his school’s play and my heart near exploded from cuteness overload!  The hat was a bit too big so he spent most of the play adjusting it and keeping it out of his eyes.  Okay, mom moment over.shepard donkey sheep peg dollsAnd here is the shepherd, his son, a donkey (I think I may have put his eyes on his snout…) and their sheep.  True to form, one of the sheep went missing sometime between taking these photos and getting the nativity set over to the entry for display.  It probably rolled off somewhere.  I guess I was right needing that additional shepherd’s son to attend to the flock!modern nativity from abovenativity made of wooden dollsmodern carboard wood doll nativity setI hope the shopping is done and things are starting to wind down for you if they haven’t already.  I’ll be back on Thursday to roundup all the crafts I’ve shared this month and to share a few snapshots of my holiday decorations.  Have a lovely holiday week!

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Jennifer singature - Pea Jenny Script

 

Hanging Felted Scandi Hearts Trio

 

Hanging Felt Heart Trio Tutorial - Brave New HomeI have a good handful of narrow walls (don’t we all?) and thought something like this would be perfect to add some cozy holiday flare.2 - materials for felted heart trioFor this project you’ll need felt, some ribbon, cotton balls, embroidery floss and puffy paint.3 - sandwhiching cotton between heartsStart by cutting out six identical hearts and make a cotton ball sandwich.  Be sure to unravel your cotton balls first (I used about four or five per heart) to get a more even look.4 - using end stich on felt heartUsing the same end stick I used for my gnome hats, close your felt hearts up.5 - using lint roller on felted heartsOnce you’re done sewing, go back with a lint roller to get off any extra cotton that may have stuck to your felt.6 - gluing ribbon to heartThen hot glue the ribbon to the back of your hearts to connect them altogether.  7 - gluing ribbon hanger to heartFor the top heart, loop your ribbon to have a way to hang your decoration.using puff paint to make snowflake designHere’s where the Scandinavian influence came in.  Using puffy paint, I added some snowflake designs.felted heart trio nordic snowflake designIf you’re so inclined, the snowflakes could be sewn on using embroidery floss as well.  felted heart with scandinavian snowflake designMaybe next year I’ll try some more embroidery techniques.felted heart trio with scandinavian snowflake designI was running low on embroidery floss though and try to limit my trips to the craft store.  I can only imagine what my bill would have been if I ran in to get ten cent embroidery floss located in the farthermost corner from the entrance.felted hearts folded up for storageLike all my Christmas decorations, I always consider storage.  These fold up nicely and would do well in a move.hanging trio of hearts on doorI’ll see you back on Monday when I’m going to share my most favorite Christmas craft this season!  I’ve been wanting to make a nativity set for years and I finally just went for it and had the best time doing it.

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Jennifer singature - Pea Jenny Script

 

Modern (and Versatile!) Advent Candle Holder

Modern Advent Candle Holder by Brave New HomeI wanted to make some sort of candle holder that could be used as an advent candle holder but could also work well at other times of the year.  So I bought some candles and looked around for a piece of scrap wood.materials for modern advent candle holderFor this project you will need a piece of wood (the thicker the better), candles, white acrylic paint and different sized drill bits.  I decorated the four advent candles with washi tape and straw Scandinavian ornaments.marking places for candlesStart by figuring out just where you want your candles to go.  I wanted mine staggered in an organic pattern.marked holes for candlesThen using a pencil trace where you want your candles to be placed.  For the four advent candles, I had them all aligned on the same plane and distanced apart equally.  It works for the advent season but it wouldn’t be obvious if you had just regular candles placed inside.using two bits for tapered candlesSince the candles were tapered, I started with my 7/8 in bit then went down deeper with a 3/4 in bit.  I painted the sides white (natural wood and white is the common denominator in my decorating scheme so I know I’ll be able to re-use this candle holder for other occasions.  I’m thinking it would look great with some pastel colored candles as part of a summer dinner party tablescape later down the line).staggered advent candle holder straw starsI wrapped the four advent candles with a piece of red and white polka dot washi tape and taped a straw star ornament above.modern scandinavian advent candle holderI’m hosting Christmas dinner this year and this candle holder will likely find a home in the center of the dining table during dinner.  My mom always has one or two German candle Christmas carousels on her table during dinner so it just wouldn’t feel right not having some sort of candles lit on our table, too.top of advent candle holder washi tape straw ornamentAll the candles stood up just fine but if you’re having issues getting yours to fit in the holes try crumpling up some aluminum foil to cradle the candle better.trio of white candles polka dot washi tapeVery simple project that only cost me the price of candles.modern scandinavian white candle washi tape advent candle holder woodNow while I usually sing the praises of Ikea a word about these here candles.  They stink!  Like just nasty smelling cheap wax.  Like you need to air them out for them just to be tolerable on display.  And don’t get me started on how they smell once they’re actually lit.  I will definitely not be buying those candles ever again.

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Jennifer singature - Pea Jenny Script

Nordic Gnomes

1 - DIY Nordic Felt Gnomes by Brave New HomeOh man, this project was so easy and makes me so giddy.  I want to create a whole village of these little guys!  I grew up on gnomes.  When my peers were watching Sesame Street, I was busy watching David the Gnome.  I’m pretty sure my German mom had something to do with my penchant for gnomes…2 - materials for felt gnomes copyI actually bought these cones forms last Christmas and have been sitting on them for about a year.  You’ll also need felt, embroidery floss, cotton balls, and wooden doll heads (I told you the uses for those things are infinite!).3 - sewing end stitch on hatAfter cutting a cone shape for the hat (I just taped my felt to the cone and trimmed away), I did an end stitch around the bottom.  I’m way more comfortable sewing my hand versus using a machine.4 - back of gnome hat copyHot glue the body on first then hot glue the hat so it overlaps the body.  Leave the top part unglued so you can later shape it with your fingers to flare out.5 - tucking cotton into felt hatMake sure not to glue the bottom of the hat so you can tuck in some unraveled cotton.6 - gluing wood nose to gnomeThen hot glue your wooden doll head on top of the beard.  Make sure it gets attached to the felt too so it will stay in place securely.8 - completed nordic gelt gnomes copyAnd there you have it.  Super easy, right?  Then you can have fun positioning your gnomes to chat or whatever else you’d have them do.9 - cone felt elves wood noseI think it’d be fun to add pigtails or glasses to create different personalities.  Could get a bit kitschy quick though.11 - scandinavian felt gnomes in front of pom pom garland copyIf you don’t have a cardboard cone form, you could even tape one together from cardboard (think cereal box).10 - nordic felt gnomes in front of pom pom garlandThese are so fun I wonder if I could get away with displaying them all year…10 - scandinavian felt gnomes talking to each other copyIf you’re feeling particularly crafty you could even embroider some designs on their hats.  The possibilities are endless!

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Jennifer singature - Pea Jenny Script