Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Dragonfly Lives.....By Joyce Oroz

If you have not ventured into the Dragonfly Gallery in Aromas, why haven’t you? Not a gallery groupie? Haven’t the time for snooping around a cozy establishment bursting with creativity? You have better things to do? If I were you, I would spend a precious fifteen minutes investigating the claims I make about our beloved gallery. Discover for yourself the treasures on display. If you would like to know more about the artists, I will be happy to help you any Friday between one and four o’clock. Yes, there are Dragonfly t-shirts for sale along with hand-carved wooden Santas, handmade jewelry, knitted items, pottery, quilts, cards, wooden boxes, paintings, photographs, prints and books by local authors. What more could you possibly want? The gallery is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 to 4:00, but not this Sunday because it's New Years Day. Hope I see you Friday. Make it a New Years resolution!

Now, motor on down to 380 Blohm Ave., Aromas, California.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Video by Joe Truskot

I recently heard from my friend, Joe Truskot, who has put together a video you don't want to miss--instructional as well as beautiful to watch.

Joe owns more talents than toes, including his rose book (Central Coast Rose Manual)

You'll find this video especially interesting if you've ever served on a board of directors for a nonprofit.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Passing the white glove Joyce Oroz

Holey moley, the new year is right around the corner—time to toss the tinsel and nix the pine needles. But I’m exhausted from the holiday hoopla. Suppose I don’t feel like cleaning closets right now. Suppose Aunt Clara is coming for a visit. Read on…….here is a little story from a friend that I want to share with you. She says, "I just read about a decorating tip that I thought was brilliant and wanted to pass it on. Go buy yourself some 'Get Well Soon' cards and put them on your mantle or table, so that when people come over and the house isn't Martha Stewart ready they'll see the get-well-cards and it will give you the excuse .... that you haven't been feeling well. A woman after my own heart. Brilliant."
Thank you, AR

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Lint for Christmas

"In the spirit of Christmas............

A dear friend recently wrote……
When we went to New Orleans to see our son, Dave, he took us to various art galleries and one in particular had some "strange art." One artist had collected dryer lint for the last 10 years and then stacked it, by separating the years. The price of this art was substantial and I commented, "You have GOT to be kidding me!" I was quickly chastised by Dave, to remember that, "Art is in the eye of the beholder." I try. I really do try to let these things go but sometimes I just can't. So, as soon as I got home, I started collecting my dryer lint and the attached is Dave's Christmas gift from me. I know he'll be in awe with the lint from his father's underwear, bathroom rugs, towels, t-shirts and the like. This woman artist in New Orleans has nothing on me. I even amazed myself and this is my first ever try at stacking & collecting dryer lint ~ artist that I am. Enjoy the laugh and Merry Christmas to All!

Thank you, my friend, for sharing

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Who's Counting? Joyce oroz

An original carved wood Santa by Barbara Scoles

“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” Albert Einstein

In Christmas terms, the knitted tie, the potted cactus, the pet rat and the electric nose trimmer might not be counted in the “most adored present list,” unless, of course, they were given with good intensions by people who love you. In that case, they make the top of the list.

Presents are tangibles, easily sorted, rated, recycled or trashed (in extreme cases.) But sorting out the family and friend dynamics is a little tougher. Does Aunt Mary wear the skunky perfume because she knows I hate it? Did Uncle Bob burp at the table because he didn’t like his gift from cousin, Martha—tickets to a musical? Will my niece ever forgive me for buying her a sweater three sizes too big? Yes, I gave George the peanut brittle--didn’t know he was allergic to peanuts. But I’ll call the paramedics right away. And so it goes with family and friends.

Isn’t it funny how God gives us ugly bilge to work on so that we can be more prepared for the bigger, more significant problems and choices in life—like, the choice whether to be happy—or not when your world seems to be falling apart.

This Christmas, count up all the good things in your life and put them in your breast pocket. Now add up the bilge and drop it in the dumpster with the knitted tie, the cactus, the rat and the trimmer, and walk away. Feel better? I hope so. Now, enjoy the new year with a happy heart!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sandy discovers greatest recipe ever! Joyce oroz

Sandy licks her lips when she reads my recipe book, and barks a happy tune when she discovers Barbara Gilkey's peanut butter cookie recipe. Being a typical Lab, she has a full range of favorite foods. She has been known to lick up spilled oatmeal, fermenting green leftovers, kitty pooh and other undesirable organics.

Moving along, I really should be baking in the sun on a beach in the Bahamas, but the reality is, I don’t have a ticket. While my mind is toasting in the sun, my hands are busy whipping up old-fashioned peanut butter cookies in a new-fashioned way. The recipe is so simple it only has three ingredients and it doesn’t even call for flour of any kind! Are those joyful shouts coming from the gluten-free peanut gallery? Now, let’s fire up our ovens and BAKE!!

Peanut Butter Cookies

1-1/2 cups peanut butter
1 cup sugar
2 unbeaten egg whites

Blend peanut butter and sugar well.
Add egg whites and mix thoroughly.

Roll into walnut sized balls,
Place on ungreased cookie sheet
And flatten each one with a fork.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes @ 375 degrees.
Cool before removing from pan.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Friday, December 16, 2011

gluten-free Joyce oroz

This is a recipe for Cherry Date Balls by Barbara Endersbe…..
gluten-free and fabulous!
I eliminated the granulated sugar because the dates and
cherries are so sweet—your choice.

Cherry Date Balls

2 eggs, well-beaten
1 cup sugar—optional
1 cup chopped nuts---I used pecans
1cup chopped dates
½ cup flaked coconut---I used unsweetened
½ t. almond extract
½ t. vanilla
1/8 t. salt
Cooking spray
36 candied cherries
Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine eggs, sugar, nuts, dates, coconut, almond extract, vanilla and salt. Place in buttered 8-inch square pan.
Bake 30 minutes, stirring mixture thoroughly every ten minutes. Remove from oven and stir well, then let cool.
Spray a little cooking oil on your hands, then shape the dough into balls around cherries. Roll in powdered sugar.

This is my gluten-free recipe for molasses cookies……hope you enjoy them!

Molasses Cookies

2 cups almond flour
½ cup millet or rice flour

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1 t. teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ginger

1 t. teaspoon cinnamon
¼ t. ground cloves

1/2 cup grapeseed or olive oil

1/2 cup black strap molasses
1 egg

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl
Stir together wet ingredients in a smaller bowl
Mix wet ingredients into dry
Scoop batter one tablespoon at a time onto the parchment paper lined baking sheet
Bake at 350° for 8 minutes
Cool and serve makes about 20 cookies

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Gopher Takes Down Joyce Oroz

Gopher takes down five-year-old Shoestring Acacia

It’s hard to imagine a rodent the size of a small fruitcake, taking out a ten-foot tree. The tree happened to be a shoestring acacia I had babied for five years. I planted it in a wire basket, knowing there were critters in the ground plotting its demise. I faithfully tended my little tree, giving it food, water and kind words.

Two feet down, right under my feet, the gophers were laughing and doing high-fives as the acacia roots lengthened, eventually pushing their way out of the wire cage, and deeper into the sandy earth where the greedy monsters drooled and waited.

Over the years, my favorite little tree grew straight and tall, it’s branches proudly wearing thousands of foot-long stringy (but graceful) leaves. I imagined my tree growing to twenty feet and giving refuge to small birds needing a place to hide from the local cats. I couldn’t wait for its branches to stretch out and provide filtered shade over the grass.

Under the grass the fruitcakes were busy gnawing delicate tree roots down to the nub at a time when Mother Nature was orchestrating a mighty wind storm all over California. Finally the winds diminished enough for me to go about my gardening duties. Suddenly I noticed that my tree was leaning. I dropped the hose and reached out to the acacia’s slim reddish trunk. It easily moved several inches in every direction.

Life can be cruel, but I was not about to let my tree die. I raced to the back yard, making several trips actually, gathering long sticks, rope, a large rock and duct tape. I quickly staked and wrapped the trunk until it looked hokier than the blouse I sewed in my seventh grade Home Ech. class.

I quickly stuffed half a pack of juicy fruit gum into my mouth and chewed until it was soft. Juicy fruit is a gopher killer. I didn’t make that up. I poked the wad down a gopher hole. Now, if the tree grows new roots and the gophers partake of gum (and die) I will be satisfied. Later that day my neighbor told me his cat smelled like juicy fruit gum. A flavor I love!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Nosy Art Oroz

This little ditty comes from Art's novel, Okinawa Moon....taken from a real event and a really huge rat living in the B-29 bomber he was assigned to during the Korean War.

The Nosy Rat

by Arthur Oroz

The food was eaten,
But not by the crew.
Holes in the boxes,
Yet tied up like new.

I knew twas not me,
And it was not you.
So it must be the rat,
Not the B-29 crew.

We finally found him,
As huge as a cat.
Reading the plane’s log,
So cocky and fat.

Sadly we crowned him,
Hard with a mace.
Buried him deeply,
In a box lined with lace.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Fish for Joyce oroz

It’s December, time to take a trip to the aquarium, observe
the fish, their fabulous fauna and their freaky friends. Why December? Because
Christmas is coming and the average frazzle-minded shopper-planner person needs
a little get-away. How do I know that fish relax the mind? Because it happened
to me.

I entered the aquarium with food-lists, gift-lists,
to-do-lists and lists-of-lists buzzing in my head and weighting me down.
Moments later I was laughing hysterically at three rambunctious otters romping
and wrestling in and out of the water. Their fat fluffy bodies flailed and
flounced in pretend otter fights. They were having more fun than a sea animal
should be allowed to have and I couldn’t stop laughing.

Subsequently, my grandchildren led the way to a giant kelp
tank where a scuba-girl fed a variety of fish-types from a small bucket that
held an endless supply of recycled fish parts. She talked to us in garbled utterances
as she fed small squid to passing sharks.

Moving right along, our motley party visited Betty and Bee
(penguins) at, of all places, the penguin pond. Bee did her laps under water by
pressing her beak against the glass while working her wings back and forth (about
ten miles worth), coming up for air periodically. Betty preferred to pose,
penguin-style, on the rocks above, while Reggy waddled down the path looking
studly in his black and white tux.

Then came the octopus, spread-eagle and suctioned onto his
glass enclosure. His arms were as long as mine but he had six more of them.
From there we trekked to the opposite end of the building where we found
displays of swimming jellyfish, seahorses and silvery anchovies. Suddenly my
stomach growled and I had visions of fresh pizza. Fortunately, the restaurant
downstairs had everything we needed.

After a great lunch, we climbed the stairs and stood in the
dark in front of a giant (humongous) glass tank where sharks prowled, giant
turtles did the breast stroke and tuna loafed. Or was that lunch? At that
point, my mind was so relaxed, I would be lucky to remember the way home.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Book Review of "Read My Lipstick" (Josephine Stuart Mystery)

Dear mystery reading friends, I want to share a review of “Read My Lipstick” with you, and encourage you to cuddle up with your Kindle $4.99 and enjoy my stories. Yes, I am unabashedly asking for more reviews.

By B. Altman (Reviewer)
This review is from: "Read My Lipstick" (Josephine Stuart Mystery) (Kindle Edition) $4.99 

Well, Ms. Oroz has done it again!! A really fun book and I found it very hard to put it down. The adventures of Josephine and her darling Basset Hound...This story takes you all all the way from Aromos,Calif. to Tahoe in the snow. There is just one crazy thing after another that happens to Josephine. I am anxious for her next book..
I loved it!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Barbara Frances in Joyce oroz

Today I am interviewing a very special lady, Barbara
Frances, who is a remarkable and dedicated quilter. Her quilts are hand-stitched
(even king-sized quilts, hand stitched?) It's true. I watched her making those
tiny precise stitches over and over again. The results are astounding. Her
designs are original and speak about the glory of nature.

Barbara, how did you become a quilter? Did anyone
influence you along the

I was fortunate enough to grow up surrounded by marvelous
textiles and
handwork. My mom was raised in Madagascar, and had
wonderful fabrics and
African handwork that we were allowed to take to school
for “show and
tell” at an early age. As I got a bit older, I would
visit my grandmother
and watch her take fine, tiny stitches as she made doll
clothes for me,
and I wanted to be able to sew like she did. At age
eight, I designed and
sewed my first garment out of a pink flowered flour sack.
For some reason,
my mom did not want me to wear it outside the house. Go

When we were living in San Leandro, we weren’t able to
get to the beach
very often. I was missing the ocean, and wanted to have
something that
brought the look and feel of the ocean into our home. I
thought about the
Hawaiian quilts that I had fallen in love with while on a
vacation to
Hawaii. Since I had no experience cutting a true Hawaiian
quilt pattern, I
decided to use the seaweed picture I had in my mind, and
applique it on a
natural colored background to capture the essence of the
Polynesian style.
A friend saw my work and wanted the same style of pillows
for her new
sofa, but preferred leaves to seaweed, so I created
applique patterns for
her which were inspired by the plants around my home.

Please tell us about the technique you use. What is
different about your
work as compared to other quilters?

When I started working with appliques and hand stitching,
I decided that
since I was just doing this for myself, I could do
whatever I wanted. So I
used my favorite hand stitch, the running back stitch
that was easy, fun
and created a great texture. With the exception of one
row of binding, I
prefer doing all the work by hand, while sitting in my
antique rocking
chair. I enjoy the control of doing one stitch at a time,
and there is
something very soothing about hand sewing. I do not know
other quilters
committed to using only organic or sustainable fabrics,
or doing all the
work by hand, but it is what gives me satisfaction and

Barbara, these quilts are truly beautiful. What materials
do you like to
use and why? Who dreamed up the wonderful designs?

As a confirmed vegan and tree-hugger, I decided to use
only environmental
fabrics. I use organic cottons, hemp, hemp blends and
bamboo fabrics. I
used only organic cotton batting in the quilts for a
number of years, but
recently switched to a bamboo batting. The pillows that I
make have kapok
inserts (kapok is the fluff from the seed pod of a
silk-kapok tree). All
my designs are my interpretation of what I see in Nature.
I often take
pictures of kelp or copy a leaf for a pattern. We were in
Maui when I saw
a breadfruit tree for the first time. As many times as I
had read about
breadfruit trees, I never realized how big the leaves
were. So I traced
several sized leaves and brought the patterns home. I am
not a swimmer, so
several of the quilt patterns are my vision of what it
would be like to
swim among the seaweed. Since the subjects are always
earth related, I
feel it is very important to use only Earth and animal
friendly fibers.

When you are not quilting, what other creative things do
you enjoy doing?

When I’m not sewing, and that isn’t often, I enjoy
working in the yard and
garden or walking on the beach. Then I get new
inspiration, and head back
to the sewing room!

Barbara, how can the public look at more of your work and
where can they
purchase your lovely quilts?

My quilts are custom order only, since there are so many
options with
size, color and design. They have been shown at the Santa
Cruz Art League
Fiber Arts show, the Pajaro Valley Quilt show and the
International Quilt show. We have also shown them at
events, such as Earth
Day, Cabrillo Music Art and Wine Festival and the
Capitola Art on the
Beach. Some of my wall hangings are available at the
Clear Heart Gallery
in Petaluma. We are expecting the new studio, located at
our home at 399
Carpenteria Road, Aromas, to be completed shortly after
the holidays. Once
completed, we would be happy to have people stop by to
see the quilts.

Thank you, Barbara for taking
the time to educate us on quilting. We wish you all the best.