Monday, October 31, 2011
Have you ever wondered about your neighbor’s nocturnal escapades? What’s with people who set a couple plastic jack o lantern candy buckets in front of their house to be festive. People passing by encourage them by saying, “how sweet.” Five years later there are bazillions of round-headed smiley faces pointed at the street. They cover the steps, climb the trees and collect ants. They outnumber the lawn chairs, rose bushes, blades of grass and rocks in the gravel driveway. But don’t worry, China can spit these bright orange babies out in no time. Who knew your water bottles would be turned into smiley-faced pumpkins….all the better to make you smile. Thank you neighbor for the smiles that will hold us until Christmas when you really plug it in!
Friday, October 28, 2011
Giving Wings to Creativity Award presented to Paul Burns, October 26, 2011
It’s not everyday the Aromas Hills Artisans give an award to a local business owner. In fact the GIVING WINGS TO CREATIVITY award was created because of Paul Burns, owner and President of Fireclay Tile located in San Jose and Aromas. Today I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Burns and touring his Fireclay factory in Aromas where old toilets, recycled windows and granite dust are magically turned into beautiful ceramic tiles.
The magic happens when the oddest of materials, the sharpest minds and excellent equipment come together. It’s the “green magic” we’ve all been searching for. Who knew it would be found in old toilets? In this case, 1,700 donated toilets from the Monterey Presidio, but don’t worry, replacements are on the way.
Linda Bjornson, president of the Aroma Hills Artisans, presented a handmade wooden box (crafted by Daniel Smith, AHA member) to Paul Burns, owner and mastermind of Fireclay Tiles. It was a joyful moment for all and all because fourteen years ago Mr. Burns had an idea. He wanted to make tiles out of porcelain toilets. He worked at the idea for a year before he found a way to successfully incorporate ground up toilets with other ingredients to make tiles. Now his Debris Series tiles are 70% recycled material.
Mr. Burns ordered a special kiln from Wisconsin. It arrived in four boxcars—yes, it’s that big! How hot is 1,800 degrees? He says his biggest expense is labor. Gosh, do we still make things in America?
YES WE DO!
Paul’s thirty employees turn out thousands of tiles ranging in size from one inch by one inch to fix-foot long solid counter top slabs. The tiles come in a full range of textures, shapes and vibrant colors. The intricate, Italian and Mexican style tiles are hand painted by ladies with steady hands and good temperaments.
The process is beyond interesting. It was wonderful to see American enterprise in action. Hat’s off to Paul Burns.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
I am very excited that Nancy Oleata has agreed to tell us her story, and of course I will share it with you. She is an active member of the Aromas Hills Artisans group and a top-notch artist. The pictures of her work speak for themselves.
Please tell us about yourself, Nancy.
I was born in Washington state but never lived there. I have lived in every city on the Monterey Peninsula and now reside in Prunedale. I have a daughter, a son and 4 grandson's 4,5,6, and 14 and believe me they are a handful. I was married to my husband Mike for 39 years and last May lost him to cancer. Needless to say my life has changed. I now have an urge to make as much art as I can.
Were you always a creative person?
As a child I was always drawing and art was my favorite subject. My father was an abstract painter and I have many memories of him painting in his studio. I graduated from Carmel High and attended MPC for a while before marrying. When my kids were older I got a job as a floral designer and spent 15 years making floral art. It's not as much fun as some people think. Long hours at holiday times and many hours on your feet. I'd always painted at home but never showed anywhere. After taking a glass fusing class at MPC I decided it was time to quit my job and try my hand at art. The Aromas Hills Artisans was a great place to start. I met Linda Bjornson at open studios and she encouraged me to join the group.
What steps did you take once you decided to give up the floral design?
I've taken workshops in L.A. on fused glass lead by Roger Thomas. I just happened to find him on the web and really related to his style. He inspired me to try my hand at landscapes in glass which are so much fun. They take about 4-5 firings in the kiln before I'm satisfied. I also make practical pieces like plates and bowls but from an artists point of view. When I paint I like to start with a photo I've taken or some times a magazine photo will catch my eye. I think I'm a pretty fast painter and can usually finish a painting in a week. After a while you reach the point where you start overworking the piece. That's when it's time to stop. Although I have been know to change a painting after a couple of years if something about it bothers me. I switch back and forth from painting to glass whenever I get tired or frustrated with one.
Nancy, do you have other artistic things you like to do?
My other artistic endevers would be home decorating and gardening. I've taken 25 years to landscape my property and enjoy adding annual color.
Where can people find your lovely paintings and glass work?
I am currently showing my work in The Valley Art Gallery in old town Salinas and hope to expand to other galleries and the web in the future.
Thank you, Nancy for sharing with us today.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Let the fur fly!
I don’t get around much so you can imagine my surprise—hearing about crocheting on silk flower leis (lays) using fun fur yarns (not stories). When I joined the crocheting leis class I was oblivious to the perils of having three thumbs on each hand. But that’s OK. I have three left feet to match, just don’t put me in a room full of zoomba-jazzer-aorobic-dancers because most people cannot do the moves while laughing hysterically.
Back to the fun fur yarn, no animals were harmed, by the way. It really was fun, chatting with the students and cashing in on 90% of the personal instruction. It seems most women, even some men have experienced needlework in their past. My past was completely deficient in that area, but that didn’t stop me from finishing my furry lei—the next day. I think it is beautiful and I am proud to say I did 22% of the work myself.
My instructor’s name is J. Rosella Myers, a truly gifted creator of beautiful things. She invented the crocheting silk flower leis idea and method, but that’s only one project. Jay works like a sculptor as she designs unique, flowing, dramatic and very beautiful clothing. If you’re looking for Jay, try SueDee’s Quilting and Knitting…..222G, Mt. Hermon Road, Scotts Valley—they know where she is.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
for the picture
By Joyce Riley
There’s a touch of autumn in the air,
Not much but it is there,
Soothing a sun parched land.
There’s a ripple in the trees.
Tired leaves are touched
And tinted by a gold tipped hand.
The painter’s hand is crimson, now.
Transforming leaves and boughs
From a dusty green to gold and umber.
Frost turns the landscape into flame
And game obeys an urge
Awakened from its slumber.
There’s a touch of winter in the air,
Not much, but the trees are bare
And geese have flown from sight
Now, where the picnic table stood
Fire wood is stacked and ready
To give us warmth and fire light.
Autumn’s story, now completed,
Will, in time, be repeated.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Shaking In Her Flip Flops has been available on Kindle for a week now. Here is an excerpt......
.....“Hi, Trudy, looks like we shop at the same market. How is your husband feeling?”
“Oh, hello, Josephine. Poor Dash is feeling a little overwhelmed right now. He depended on Del for so many things.” Ava appeared and pulled on her mother’s sleeve. “Not now honey,” Trudy said, and then turned back to me. “Dash told me how you helped him with his headaches. In fact, he tried to show me how you do it.” She pointed to a spot above her eyebrow.
“Is this the correct spot?”
“It might be. Just push difference places until he complains. That usually means you found it.” I showed her a few more pressure points and reminded her to push for fifteen seconds no matter how hard Mr. Dubois cried.
“Josephine, where did you learn all this stuff?”
“I heard it on the radio, you know, an infomercial,” I said. Trudy’s smile faded. “So, I guess Delroy is missed by everyone.”
“Not me,” Ava said. Her mother frowned and turned to Ava.
“We don’t speak about Uncle Del that way.” She turned back to me. “He wasn’t a family type of guy.”
The pretty little ten-year-old rolled her eyes and walked further down the aisle ....
Friday, October 14, 2011
Today I want you to meet a wonderful author, Joseph Valentinetti.
Mr. Valentinetti, please tell us how and why you embarked on a writing career?
I started writing early but without consistency. But I think the `Why’ part of your question is more relevant to me. I’m a reticent person-the quiet type. When people are being kind they say, Still waters run deep. What have you been up to? or, what are you thinking about? are two questions that freeze me up. I’m sure there’s a description of my disorder in the DSM outlining its characteristics, and, I’m just as sure there’s a description in there for each of us. So I write to say what I feel, and, to say what I am unable to say face to face. I’m there in my fiction somewhere, not quite as disguised as in real life but probably not that open either.
By the way, when people are not being kind they say, I bore them to death. Though there is no documented case of someone dying from being in my company.
Mr. Valentinetti, what genre do you prefer to write?
I seem to have ended up in the mystery field. I like my characters to let their weaknesses get them into places they have never been before, and, from where they have to find the strength to get themselves out.
Please tell us about "Tyler Palewhite: Soft-Boiled Detective" your most recent book.
Tyler Palewhite is a salesman who dreams of being a novelist. In fact he’s written a P.I. novel. He’s not having much luck getting it published until he hits on the idea of pretending to be a Private Investigator to impress potential publishers. He makes letterhead, prints business cards and adds it to his resume. As people he knows find out they take it seriously and begin to ask for his help. He tries his hand at a couple of simple things and has some unexpected success. As far is writing is concerned his pretense has the desired effect: It works. He gets a publisher and things are going as according to plan.
Just when he thinks, What Could Possibly Go Wrong? things begin to spiral out of control and he finds himself embroiled in kidnapping and murder. What he does to try and fix things keeps making matters worse.
How many books have you written and which one was the most satisfying to
I have five novels. Each had rewards and punishments unique to itself. I am proud of each of them.
Please tell us about how you write your novels--your methodology.
I start with an idea. I don’t do an outline unless you consider a first draft an outline. I do try to stay true to the original idea. What I mean is, when I get an idea that excites my imagination I stick to it. I know that as I think about it again and again it will start to sound dull and stupid. New modifications will occur to me and new ideas always sound better than old ideas, if for no other reason, their freshness alone will make them appear better. If I let the `new’ take over I’d never get anything done.
Do you enjoy writing?
I can’t top what Woody Allen said: I like everything but the paperwork.
I do like it. I enjoy the solitude. I enjoy the times when the writing takes over and I am nothing more than a conduit. When the thoughts shake free of my grip and I am carried along with them as though we are, my thoughts and I, travelling side by side, driven. I can’t say what that force is, creativity maybe? but it is something that frees me. I enjoy that.
Thanks for interviewing me Joyce.
I am also on Goodreads, Librarything, Facebook and Linkedin.
Where can we find you and your books?
Web Site, Book Purchasing and Blog www.valentinetti.com
Articles etc. http://ezinearticles.com/?=Joseph_Valentinetti
Thank you, Joseph for taking the time to tell us a little bit about yourself!
Articles etc. http://ezinearticles.com/?=Joseph_Valentinetti
Thank you, Joseph for taking the time to tell us a little bit about yourself!
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Today I turn the spotlight on a distinguished photographer and AHA member, David Coombes. David's pictures capture nature at it's best. He actively supports the Aromas Hills Artisans and the Dragonfly Gallery.
• David, please tell us about yourself and how you became a photographer.
My parents owned a Brownie 44 box camera which I used to play with and then they discovered that it actually had an undeveloped film in it. I was 5 years old at the time and it was fun seeing everything upside down in the viewfinder. It was even more fun when they had it developed – nothing memorable but I was hooked. My first camera was given to me on my 10th birthday and I still have the black and white snaps from the first film in a scrapbook.
• David, I have seen the lovely pictures you take. How do you find such beautiful pieces of nature?
My camera and I tend to hang out together wherever I go, however most of the shots are either in our garden or in the local area. Let’s face it, when you have Moss Landing, Watsonville Beaches and Monterey on your doorstep, how can you go wrong? My favorite times are hanging out in the garden and waiting for that perfect set up with the flowers, bees and butterflies – it is so rewarding when it all comes together.
If you weren’t taking pictures, what would you be doing?
I seem to collect hobbies, so the list includes golf, or more accurately, finding golf balls in long grass and wooded areas close to golf courses. More items on the hobby list include trains – Great western Railway from England, fly fishing – I once caught a 7 pound mosquito – I enjoy tying my own flies and rod building, and occasional gardening, which includes some bonsai, cactus and succulents.
• Please tell us how the folks find your photos? Will you be participating in any selling events?
I currently host my galleries on photo.net – my page can be found at http://photo.net/photos/davidjcoombes , I have also started a new facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002954118804 Coming soon will be the web site for which the domain name is www.coombesphoto.com (under construction) which may evolve into an ecommerce site, although I am taking orders via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I am exploring some of the stock photo sites such as istockphoto.com, etc.
I have several images on display in the Dragonfly Gallery in Aroma which is being run by Kathryn Aguras.
My work will be for sale at the AHA Holiday Festival at the Aromas Grange, November 19 and 20.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
The seasons are changing and no one says it better than Joyce Riley........
By Joyce Riley
Tides ebb and tides flow.
Seasons come and seasons go.
But, in the ebbing and the flowing,
The endless coming and the going,
There is a rhythm and a force,
Which keeps the Universe on course.
No less are we than the tides;
For, that Power, in us, abides.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Shaking In Her Flip-Flops is now available on Kindle--be the first to review it! Here is an excerpt from my newest novel in the Josephine Stuart Mystery Series.
“Hi, Thelma, see anything interesting out there?”
“Honey, it’s dark. I check my monitor now and then, but nothings out there yet for at least two miles in every direction. If it picks up something I’ll let you know.”
“Actually, I was wondering if you have a phone I can borrow.”
“Sure, hold the wheel.” She climbed down from her swivel chair and crossed the room.
“I don’t know how to do this … ah, David … help. Wait a minute, I got it,” I said, as I corrected the overcorrection. David flew across the room and slammed into poor Thelma who grabbed David’s pant leg on the way down. They rolled across the floor when the boat crossed the wake I had just created. I felt like I was really getting the hang of driving the boat, when Thelma crawled up to me, her eyes on fire, yanked me out of the chair and grabbed the wheel. David finally stood up looking dazed.
“Josie, take the phone and let’s go see what Wally’s up to.” He handed the phone to me, took my arm and pulled me downstairs to the dining room. Wally was awake, his eyes wide, staring at the chandelier as it made giant swings back and forth.
“I dreamt I was on the Titanic and it was going down.” He wiped his forehead with the back of his leathery hand.
“I think I had that nightmare too,” David said, patting Wally on the back.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Since SHAKING IN HER FLIP FLOPS is coming out on Kindle this month, I thought I would share an interview I recently did with a fabulous author, Joseph Valentinetti. I hope you will look him up and follow his blog.
FOR WORKS OF FICTION: http://valentinetti.com
Joyce Oroz writes about the things she loves; mural painting, animals, California, relationships, mystery and adventure. Her ambition is to entertain, speed up the heartbeat, raise some hairs on the back of your neck and make you laugh.
Book title: Secure the Ranch ISBN: 978-1-4327-5892-9 price: $18.95
……………….Joyce, what’s the name and genre of your book?
Secure the Ranch is a contemporary murder mystery. It is a fast-paced suspenseful adventure with laughs at every turn. I try to create interesting characters and relationships that grow and change. I write about people from a wide range of cultures and generations.
………………..Who is the audience for in this book?
Secure the Ranch is an adventure mystery that appeals to men and women ages twenty to one-hundred. Women between the ages of forty and seventy identify with my fifty-year-old protagonist, Josephine who paints murals for a living and ferrets out bad guys on the side. She is a slightly flawed, but very sincere widow who finds herself in deep trouble.
.……………….. Is this book part of a series?
Secure the Ranch is my first novel in the Josephine Stuart Mystery Series. It is a Nancy Drew meets Stephanie Plum type mystery full of adventure, suspense and fun. My second book in the series is “Read My Lipstick” which is available from Kindle. The third book, “Shaking in Her Flip Flops” will be available from Kindle later in October 2011.
……………………Describe your protagonist (hero), physically and emotionally and describe the challenges the protagonist needs to overcome and the motivation for overcoming them.
Josephine Stuart is a fifty-year-old widow. She has her own mural-painting business and two regular employees, Alicia Quintana and Kyle Larson. She also has a handsome neighbor, David Galaz, who seems to have his eye on her. She is a self-made woman who takes pride in her ability to paint for a living. Unfortunately, the mural business has been slow. Because of her financial situation, she jumps into an iffy painting contract at the Munger Mansion atop a lonely mountain. Even when strange and terrible things happen, she feels she must finish the job. Between her work ethic and her curiosity, she is on the job.
…………………….. Quote a passage from your book (up to 100 words) that you love.
….I helped him to the ground, noticing his whole backside was crimson. I stifled a cry with my hand. Tears welled up as I embraced the best friend a person could have. Down close, hugging him, he smelled like strawberries. Once I realized Solow was wearing strawberries and a few other food groups, I relaxed considerably. He had polished off a pound of ground round, a pint of cookies and cream ice cream and a dozen raw eggs. He had been literally rolling in groceries under the dash. Every dog’s dream .....
……………………Elaborate on the meaning of the passage.
There is nothing really profound in this excerpt, but I think it’s a good visual, and Solow is an important character in the story. Actually, he has an active role in all my stories.
…………………….What is your philosophy for writing?
I am a mural artist turned writer. When my (mature) body could no longer stand up to the hard physical work of painting murals, I searched for another creative outlet. One night a vivid dream laid out a simple but complete children’s story. I quickly wrote everything down word-for-word and then spent a year writing more stories and illustrating the first one. I discovered it was the writing I enjoyed, more than the painting. After writing twenty-seven children’s stories, I decided it was time to write a real book. I finished Secure the Ranch and was hooked. I write because I love to write, and I love to share the fun with my friends.
………………What surprising things did you learn while writing this book?
I was surprised by the fact that my characters introduce themselves and lead me to places I never expected to go. I was surprised that I could stick with a six-day writing schedule for nine months, and I was blown away when the story came full circle on page 343. More surprising than that is the fact that my next book took nine months and ended on page 343!
……………….How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
I think I am eager to try new things because my parents never warned me that I might fail. My folks are hardworking and very creative. Guess some of it rubbed off on me. I was close to, and greatly influenced by my grandparents and several uncles who wrote philosophical and religious books that I never read.
If you want to buy my books go to…Amazon Books and type in “Joyce Oroz”
“Shaking In Her Flip Flops” will be available on Kindle in two or three weeks.