Street Painting or Sidewalk Chalk?

You can't take your pet fish for walk. Puppies grow old. Cats will eventually pee in your sock drawer. Thank goodness there's chalkmaster. How a "Pavement Picasso" does it? Are you inspired now to tap into the artist in everyone of us. (Scroll down to bottom of this page and adjust playlist speaker volume to minimum before viewing this flix.)

Check out additional amazing arts here, here, here, and here.
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Life and Death

Have you heard of the tragedy that happened to a Singaporean National Dragonboat team at an international competition in Cambodia last week. Five young lives were taken when their boat capsized in the 10-m deep waters with strong currents. I was saddened by the news. It has never crossed my mind it could happen in such sport. People have fallen off the boat, been hit by paddles of other rowers in a competition, suffered blisters to the bum and hands...but this sudden departure...lives of young, capable, strong men were taken by water condition, strong current, and perhaps even where they fell made it impossible for some to surface.

I have been up close and personal with death more than once and still do not deal with it well. Denial, anger, sadness - nothing can really describe how I felt. What a tragedy! My heart goes out to their families.

Life is unpredictable. The only way to deal with it is to cherish everything around us. I am learning, everyday, appreciating the joyful moments as plain as a simple "dragons and wizards" role play among my blessed treasures or enjoying companies of a few friends, sharing our thoughts about life:

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Collector Stamps

It was pouring in our trip to the post office this afternoon but MIL needed to get these collections TODAY. So, in the heavy raindrops we went.

Holiday 2007 Quilted Collector Stamps

Believe in Magic

Super Heros

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Free-Range Kids

The days of free-ranging around the neighborhood are over...those times seem as quaint now as a Norman Rockwell painting.

A few Free-Range Kids

I am appalled to see misplaced priorities of parents of our society repeatedly. Parents are putting children into sports training sessions for up to two hours and more a day. These are not future Olympians we're talking about, they're just kids who should be playing tag or hide n seek down the street with friends. Whatever happened to kids being allowed to be kids? Instead, many parents (one of whom muses that he might be an "intimidator" rather than a "motivator" -- gee, d'ya think!!?) hire trainers who once devoted their efforts to professional athletes. Seeing a lucrative market opportunity, these trainers now apply their grueling techniques to kids seven-, eight-year-old and up. It's reminiscent of the old Eastern block athletic training mills which once manufactured athletes. Check out the segment here. (beware of a commercial first.)

I'm glad I don't have to run into these parents at clubs and parks--but only have to deal with them occasionally at families' and friends' gatherings. Clearly, I wasn't cut out to be a parent in today's society because I don't have the win-at-all cost mentality. Just a thought: maybe the costs of a middle-class-with-kids lifestyle--daycare, college, housing--have skyrocketed. Parents will therefore go to any length to try to protect and maximize their "investment" in their kids.

Certainly, it's not appropriate to intimidate your child into winning. Because we don't, God forbid, our kids might not get into Harvard and their life will be over at 7!
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Happy Times in Newberg, OR

The rain has been coming down since last night in Springfield, OR.

We drove four hours (round-trip) to hang out with friends for half a day in Newberg, OR, where sky was blue and crisp. Is it worth it? You bet. We have met these friends in a 5-day retreat in September. The kids have been inseperable ever since...they talked/dreamed/breathed about the reunion for months. It is finally happening!

Why such strong bond you ask? I guess most of our deepest friendships are forged when we are young. Less rigid and more open, our hearts embrace a new relationship with very few conditions attached. The soul then, I speculate, is less suspicious and more willing to accept an overture. It is these friendships that last a lifetime, time and distance hardly making a dent in the steel it is forged out of. Life's events may stretch the fabric of a true friendship but will not make a rent in the comforting cocoon it envelops us in.

Visits to Mike and Theresa's 5-acre Home, Sherwood Iceland, and Safari Sam's Jungle Gym...The Newberg area offers much to see and do. We drove past Champoeg State Park, preserved in buildings and historical sights, but couldn't make a stop. I would have love to tour the Herbert Hoover House and some wineries in the Willamette Valley, home for some of the finest wineries in the northwest...another time, another trip.

The world would be a cold place indeed if we did not have friends to warm us and keep us cocooned in a blanket of affection and caring.

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Living Green

Now Thanksgiving is behind us and Christmas lights up the town...we are faced with the most wasteful times of the year. Dreading the holiday shopping? You're not alone. I love shopping but dislike the crowds. The traffic drives me crazy. I try to stay home as much as possible. We consume endless amounts of fuel to drive to shopping malls and then circle around forever looking for a parking spot. Then we buy endless amounts of gifts, packed into large plastic shopping bags, and trudge them back to the cars. Then we drive them home, wrap them up in piles of paper, shred it all open on a few weeks later, and then---and this is what gets me going---everybody returns everything back to the stores for exchanges and/or refunds. *Ugh.*

People know me know I'm definitely no Scrooge. I love to buy gifts for family and friends for holidays and special occasions. However, I recognize more than ever how important it is to change the whole holiday ethos--NOT next year or some year in the future, but this year, right now!

So, starting with this holiday season, in addition to serving our community and helping out friends or needies, I have committed to do the followings unless I know without a doubt there's a perfect gift awaiting at a box store (as much as I'd like to I can't make electronics, heehee)...
- Make handmade goods/food (I find people appreciate thoughtful handmade goods.)
- Buy handmade and/or fair trade goods/food
- Buy/recycled used goods

Lets be kinder to the planet by making your pledge
here today and spread the word on the benefits of buying handmade.

Here are some helpful tips in creating a greener than ever holiday:

QUALITY GIFTS, not QUANTITY. For example, one exquisite bamboo blanket is much better than 10 acrylic ones.

GIVE GIFT CARDS. Wrap it up in an empty Altoid tin and surprise a relative or friend. Unwanted gifts would often times sit in one's closet for months--even years, without ever being returned to stores--and eventually make ways to Goodwill or FreeCycle. So, rather to guess a friend might enjoy an expensive board game, why not give a gift card? The person gets to pick out exactly what he/she likes avoiding all the unnecessary hassles in dealing with returns.

SHOP ONLINE. Plan ahead and opt for GROUND shipping for your purchases. Avoid overnighting your gifts as much as possible. Select USPS at all costs. Your mail courier comes to you any extra trip, no extra fuels used...why not have him/her bring your purchases to you.

Lastly, wrap gifts in newspapers, collaged-wrapper made easily from old calenders or magazines...personalized with rubber-stamping, hand-drawn art by you or your child(ren.) Remember to recycle after ripping open your gifts. Plus, they make great Artist Trading cards and altered arts. We will show more samples in our newly created
crafty blog in coming months. Stay tuned.

Now...Go for it! Live GREEN.
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A Scary Thought

Before you know it, bitter autumnlike winds validate the arrival of winter.

The glorious autumn we've enjoyed already seems a distant memory.

It's misty, gray, blurrry cold here in Springfield, OR.

Good News: Presidential candidate Ron Paul has garnered a fair amount of both attention and scrutiny for his proposals to get rid of many government agencies (IRS, FBI) and public safety net programs (even proposing demolishing Medicare altogether), all in the name of "freedom."

Not-so-good News: Imagine you're a White House staffer in President Hillary Clinton's administration. You walk into the Oval Office to hand the president some document, and she's talking with Bill. You have a brief conversation with the two of them. As you walk out, you find yourself saying, "Thank you, Madame President. Thank you, Mister President." That's just freaky...I got the shiver!
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Christmas We Wish

Proudly Presented

Let's Mistletoe

from one of the latest Penny Black's winter holiday season stamps. I am jazzed with the acquisition.

A Sample Card
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2007 Festival of Trees, Eugene, OR

Daughter #1 proudly present 2007 Festival of Trees, Oh Come, All Ye Faithful! It is a call to the community and residents of Lane County, OR, to join together in a common goal of reaching out to those in need at a difficult time. (More on this later as the kids and dh are rushing me to go...)

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Black Friday Madness

I have to chuckle...Guess who was up and out the door at 4:30 before the sun is even up? Believe it...and it wasn't beau!

MIL persuaded him yesterday to get in the madness line at BestBuy for laptops advertised at $299 or $399 with a load of rebates, on Black Friday.

It is the post-Thanksgiving ritual that kicks off the Christmas season for retailers--is expected to deliver splashy promotions on everything from cashmere sweaters to high-definition DVD players. Want to be one of the limited few contenders to a dirt-cheap laptop or a 50" plasma TV for under a grand? You would have to camp out like hundreds of thousands (may be even millions) across the country at places like Best Buy, Circuit City, Wal-Mart, Target, Frys...etc.

For me and the kids, we are just happy to sleep in and waking up to warm sun and inviting aroma of hash browns and bacon.

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Thanksgiving Family Tradition 2007

Gobble, gobble! Thanksgiving is a time for togetherness... it's an occasion to be spent in the warm and loving company of family, loved ones and friends enjoying turkey roast and pumpkin pies with them. Thanksgiving is also an opportunity to renew the ties that bind us with the ones we love... it is a time for remembering, cherishing and being thankful for all the good things you have been blessed with.

What are you thankful for this year? The "giving thanks" part of Thanksgiving means different things to different folks. For some, it's about self-medicating to get through the family time. For me, it's about faith, hope, love, and celebrating my family. Sometimes that's all we have, but it's always all we need.

I am thankful for my best friend and husband of 15+ years.

I am thankful for my three blessed treasures who share their wisdom, energy and excitement with me each and every day.

I am thankful for holidays because they are times for family and friends to come together.

I am thankful for food that gives me energy.

I am thankful for the giving and receiving of gifts because by giving we show others that I care about them and by receiving I know that others care about me.

I am thankful for my leaders, such as my ministers, teachers and my mom who comfort me and make me feel safe.

I am thankful for my friends who care about me and those survive cancer, separation, and divorces.

I am thankful for my imaginations and the excitement of learning.

I am thankful for music, blog (recent discovery), and reading, which allow me to let out my emotions.

I am thankful for opportunities to explore new things and take risks especially with my art and craft interests.

I am thankful for the many ways I feel connected to the world around me.

Without hope, life would not be worth living and being thankful reminds us of the hope we have. That's why I think Thanksgiving is so important and why I am glad it's a national holiday.

If we don't teach our children to be thankful, they may go through life without hope and they may not appreciate the world around them. How sad to live with blinders on to all but our own interests. How sad to go through life with a chip on your shoulder. How sad to go through life with no desire to take care of our world. I want our children to be thankful. I count my blessings so they hear me. I tell them they are high on my list. Life is at its best when we are thankful.

As we enjoy our families, friends, parades, food, and football today, we wish you a great day of rest and thanksgiving. May you be encouraged to reflect upon this wonderful nation and all those things we have to be thankful for. God bless you and yours and the Land of the Pilgrim's pride. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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Play It Forward

I'm so excited to participate in the Pay it Forward exchange! Thanks for another great idea, Kristin! I will send a handmade gift to first three (3) people who leave a comment on this post requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what the gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days (that makes it a whole year,) that is my promise! The only thing you have to do, in return, is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.

Since I am new to blog world, most people wouldn't know me quite yet. Besides knitting and crocheting, I am recently obsessed (many virtually) to create paper/fiber/mixed media art, make jewelries with beads, cook (healthy/organic), bake, decoupage, fold origami, quilt, felt, compose...and more. Then one day, but you don't know when, you will get a gift that I have made especially for YOU!

So, if you're interested in receiving something handmade from RadicalUnschooler, leave me a comment.

I have been staring at these intense bursts of color yarn cakes in my laundry room, with missing labels, for past few months and pondering what they are in order to acquire other yarns to knit up a sweater (ready for Spring?) Thanks to Lolly Knitting Around's recent Thoughtful Gift post, it is her new logo for blog cards--Noro Sakura! Off to shopping...
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Batik Blue Maya Wrap for Baby Sheamas

Yeah just in time for little Sheamas' arrival...our new friend Lis is due any day now. I managed to get the maya wrap done before leaving for our 10-day holiday trip in --oops--18 minutes ago!

It took over an hour to get the 5" pleats folded--OMG, I realized I only needed to fold 18" down from each end and not the whole 5 yards of fabric! What can I has been over 6 years since I used a baby wrap or sling. I hope our friend Lis like the choice of fabric picked out. If not, I know how to make another one quick and easy :0D

Thanks to our friend, Michelle S, to get this delivered to Lis and a little Tiger for Megh's 5th Birthday.
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The Hottest Ladies' Night In Town

It was the hottest monthly (intimate Ladies' Night) COOL Mom's Night Out in Bend, OR, where you ALWAYS experienced a warm welcome from

our gracious, encouraging hostess, Kristin S.

were served with plentiful of scrumptious/yummy/to-die-for home-made, gourmet foods
such as cream of broccoli and potatoe soup, tasty almonds made with family recipe, mixed green salad, shrimp and cucumber salad served with sesame crackers, pecan & walnut mini tarts, apple crisp, ; plus stuffed mushrooms, Chinese sesame chickens and broccoli beef served with steamed rice, deletable sipping wines, Bailey coffee, tea...and more that didn't make it in the pictures.

were surrounded with

a room full of great companies, wacky conversations (puberty, birds and the bees, menopause...), or simply being there for friends who are going through some rough spots. (Sorry, had to leave early!)
and (drum roll) were pampered from head to toes without breaking the bank

So, don't you wish you were here? Next MNO Holiday Party will be either on Sunday, December 16, or Monday, the 17th, again at The Shields. There is plenty of time to work up a special treat/handmade gift for holiday swaps.

Let’s Dare To Dream, Dare To Believe, And Dare To Receive! Here are some positive vibes being sent to our friend Kristin as she is having her last chemo.
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Healing Angel of Love

Blue sky...sun is shining. The weather is sweet...make you want to move those dancing feet. In early part of the afternoon, our kids enjoyed a welcoming Surprise by briskly snowfall but all melted within minutes upon landing.

It's a busy day at the Peery lane, just as I've foreseen it would be. I'm a bit swamped getting ready for tonight's SPA party, finishing up community quilts,

teaching one of the COOL girls to sew a quilt, packing for a 10-day trip, finding sitter for the birds, cleaning the house and the messy birdcage...running million miles a second. Some days are just too busy to create a masterpiece in the kitchen for the potluck dinner. Today is one of those days. Hmmm...Chinese takeout will have to do!

To complicate my schedule further, a mixup on my part, a friend dropped off her daughter at 11 a.m. instead of 1 pm as I thought erroneously. Now, my day is totally off. Anyway, it was fun to lay out the pattern with a 10-year old. For a first-timer, Madelaine did great. We finished sewing all but 2.5 stripes-not too shabby for 3 hours' worth of machine sewing. Madelaine will finish piercing the rest of the blocks and ironing the seams at home. Next time we meet after our 10-day trip, Madelaine and I will add the sashs between stripes, borders, and bindings. Meanwhile, check out her first machine-sewing project:

Tonight's COOL Moms' Night Out is in honor of a special friend (which I will have to keep it a secret for now. Michelle S.) She will be presented surprise CARE "Full" (not Felted as referred by many) baskets, filled with handmade goodies, from the moms coming this evening. The two wash clothes I chose for the occasion are intended to salve the hurt a little bit - to let Michelle know that her friends are thinking of her, know the gut-wrenching disappointment she feels, and wish we could magic the pain away. Hope these gestures help her move on from the heartbreak.

The Angel measured 8.5" by 10", in Bernat CottonTots Pastel Dreams. The staggered fern is 10" x 10", in Lily Sugar n Cream Playtime. Both are 100% worsted cotton, washable/dryable, and knitted with size 8 needles. They will get softer with each wash--I love how they both turned out.

Following are some holiday samplers I decorated, over the wet weekend, out of wooden cutouts with acrylics paiints and glitters...they are adorable and fitting for upcoming winter festivities. I got more cutouts for COOL Kid's Club next project in first week of December.

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I'm A Gadget Gal!

Don’t you just *love* surprises?! There’s a new sewing tool in town, and I have one - the new Side Winder bobbin winder!

Granted - my machine's bobbin winder works fine. But, I find bobbin winding a collossal pain to unthread the sewing machine to do so especially when you are sewing up three community blankets in an afternoon. When there’s a new toy to be had, why not enjoy it?!

Besides, I am a bonafide gadget gal!

A rainy day, a day that symoblises tear dripping for heaven, for those who hope that it could wash away everything on their heavy mind. What have we accomplished when it is raining, covered with clouds, foggy, shivering outside? How many obsessions can one have?

Read Patti Medaris Culea's latest book on how to create funky, glamorous, realistic, and whimscial clothing and accessories for a fashion art doll. And this

and this
and this
and this

Make Bead Stitch Markers - except I was distracted...instead, I attached the only stitch marker created this afternoon to the felted bowl I've been embellishing since Friday evening.

Nothing in this world that bring more joy to us, than our children. They are Hope. The world is their oyster. They make us go all mushy; and we fall instantly in love with them all over again.

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True learning-learning that is permanent and useful,that leads to intelligent action and further learning, can arise only out of the experience, interest, and concerns of the learner.
John Holt
Real heroes are men who fall, fail and are flawed, but win out in the end because they stayed true to their ideals, beliefs and commitments.
Actor Kevin Costner

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