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  1. As is tradition now, you know as of three years ago, the kid and I create and paint something for the tree. This year ended up being something a little different. Like last year I didn't create a WIP for this project and I'm really kicking myself about it now as we started this project before Thanksgiving and have only just finished. Perhaps a WIP would have kept us better on track, food for thought for next year if nothing else. This year we did something that I thought would be simple and used no GW figures whatsoever. We were going to make a nice little Christmas tree complete with a few presents underneath. Seemed simple but this being my first attempt at making a tree I think we see where this is going. The method I chose seemed the easiest but I guess my fingers just aren't that dexterous anymore. Using wire to create the tree's trunk was simple enough but adding branches was a problem. After many attempts at making the perfect "Norman Rockwell" like tree we had to settle for Charlie Brown instead. This comparison only became more apt when we added the scouring pad bits to create the needles. In a way it added to the charm however. I had planned to sculpt or build a few small presents but the kid loved the lumpy greenstuff rocks she saw on my desk from previous projects. So we used those instead and underneath our lopsided unique tree they don't look out of place. All that remained was adding the year. It came out lopsided, blocky, and in the wrong place but that almost added to the charm. This was truly the year everything looked just a bit off. Last but not least a shot of it on the tree. As with previous years the kid had a blast helping me build, glue, base, paint, and flock this ornament. Though everything is still done together she is really getting good with basing and flocking. I can almost sit back and just let her do it herself (at least when it comes to pouring the material). No surprise as it seems to be her favorite part and she has sat with me helping to base (and occasionally flock) almost everything this year. It's probably a lot to do with the fact that we just pour material onto the base inside of a container. I can certainly see the appeal, especially from her perspective. Though I think last year's ornament had a bit more polish this one isn't bad. The kid was involved in every step (even the tedious ones) and seemed to enjoy herself. Seeing as that's the whole point behind these yearly ornaments I'd call this another successful year.
  2. December has only just begun but this year's ornament is already finished. Unlike previous years I decided to wait until the piece was finished rather than run a WIP thread. With the little one being a lot more involved this year it certainly made things easier. Our daily progress was also lower too as you can only keep a two and a half year olds attention for so long. Starting out I knew I wanted the little one to be more involved this year. Plus she's certainly been showing more and more interest in what I've been doing at my desk lately. With a bit of thinking and planning (something we all know I usually avoid) I came up with a concept that would give her a lot of "big" areas to paint unlike my other ornaments which were just little figures that require "precision". That's right I really did plan this build. As you can see I'm no artist but it does show off the concept. My plan was simple enough, I'd build a small rooftop complete with a "Santa" that would fit inside an ornamental bulb. Using plasticard I made a roof and chimney that fit snugly inside the bottom/lid of the ornament. I added the appearance and texture of bricks to the chimney using thin squares of cardboard. For the figure itself I simply used a GW necron I had leftover from an earlier project and with some greenstuff I sculpted a hat and toy sack. Lastly I covered the lid with masking tape and primed it. Once it was primed and ready for paint I could finally get the kid involved. With a bit of brush assistance from myself we quickly found our rhythm and started painting together. Unfortunately there are not a lot of progress shots. Most days I just completely forgot to take one and on others the little one was just so excited to keep going. I did get one after we finished the chimney's basecoat however. After that we painted the roof, the toy bag, the red portion of the hat, and the silver metallic. The white of the hat I did myself at one point while she napped. So far she had really been enjoying the project and seemed to like painting together but I was not prepared for how much she loved applying the wash. I'm not sure what it was but she really liked splashing the dark wash over everything. I guess dirtying up a model is just satisfying. After that we applied a little drybrush to the bricks. Everything was nearly finished but the fine details remained, so alone I quickly painted the eyes, chest, and the Christmas lights. After applying a bit of snow flock our ornament was complete. In retrospect the "lights" were a little too close together on the back, but as it only truly obscured my name it wasn't worth redoing. We put the bulb back together and hung it on the tree. I think it doesn't look too bad. It's certainly an improvement over the previous years, almost as if my skills have improved. Happy holidays everyone.
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