The first grew out of a situation. My son was in his first year of teaching English in China (12 hrs. W. of Beijing). Most teaching jobs come with an apartment provided for the teachers. This one had walls that were not insulated, and often an icy wind was blowing, making it even 10-15 degrees colder.
"They do internet cheap", he told me. When I asked what that meant, he explained, "through the window, so the window can't be closed."
Only the well-to-do have cars, so most people go by bus, metro, bike, scooter, or moped to work.
My son didn't ask for anything, but that winter I knitted an Icelandic hat for him an one for the 6-year-old boy who had no legs. My son had given him his lunch when this boy was begging at the bus station.
This situation started me thinking that in colder climates, socks, shoes, and hats are most necessary, since body heat escapes through the extremities. So, I gave myself the task t knit and crochet at least 10 hats that winter and gave them to a friend in one of the Northern states to disperse them.
I have to admit that I had never thought about how the poor in the colder regions managed to survive the winter. Often, when it touches someone we know closely, we start looking beyond our own comfort zone.
Homeless should be treated with the same respect and kindness I would like to be treated, so I felt the hats should be new, not discards.
This was BEFORE books and magazines came out with instructions for all kinds of hats. So, I bought a hat and counted all of the stitches and rows, and made my own pattern! To prevent the hat from felting (which makes them 1/5th smaller), I choose a yarn that was a blend of acryic and some kind of wool.
Professional, or what?
when we give something, we always get back MORE - sooner or later - it's the law of sowing and reaping.
My second little tradition began one year when I wanted to do something in memory of the birthday of the Creator of the Universe, who gave me a smidgen of His creativity. What better way was there than to paint? Just a small 9 x 12 painting as a little gift. But through the years it has grown into a series of scenes that have to do with the Christmas story. This story is seen through the eyes of a 14-16 year old girl named Mary.
(Left photo) Mary was stunned when the angel told her the news she was going to be the mother of the Messiah. (Right photo)She visited her aunt Elizabeth for 3 months, and both preganant ladies had a good time!
Mary has been very misrepresented through the years. Some painters have painted her in a silk regal dress with expensive jewelry, or as a smiling peaceful Madonna. Those painters must not have read the accounts of Matthew, Marc, or Luke. Mary is definitely a hero in my eyes, but not the celebrity-Hollywood kind (which are no heroes at all, just good or not-so-good actors).
For a teen, Mary went through some tough things, such as explaining to her family and friends that she was pregnant, without having had intimate relations with her fiancee Joseph. Yeah, sure! Then when she was almost ready to deliver her child, she had to travel by donkey. It's a small miracle that her labor just didn't start right there! I wonder what she and Joseph must have thought when they had to sleep in the hay with the animals.
If there were any visible signs of an unusual birth, it was that the sheperds in the field had a concert, given by a choir of angels, and the star of Bethlehem that guided the astrologers. Of course if you don't want to believe it, you can find any reason to refute it, LOL
Then after the baby was born, Mary, Joseph, and the baby had to flee the country, because this paranoid Roman governor Herod was killing off all the males under the age of two.
Even though it's a very busy time of the year, I work on and off on the small painting, and usually have it finished by New Year. By the way, such a small size makes it harder to paint, not easier!
Some people like to add one of these prints every year to their collection. This series is not shown on www.Stgermainart.com (same prices apply), but are posted right here.