After I put the first coat of gesso on the figures, I asked my 8-year-old design barometer if he thought baby Jesus looked good or creepy. "Good, but a little creepy," came the reply. I love his honesty. And turns out he was right!
I decided to sand off some of the gesso so a few features and colors of the original painted plaster pieces would come through (note to self ... don't sand too hard or all the paint and features will come off!) So I just played til I ran out of time ... the hay was added on New Year's Eve (happily made by my little barometer: text pages run thru the pasta machine).