Coastal Christmas

Instead of sleigh bells; we have seashells.

Instead of pine trees; we have palm trees.

Instead of snow; we have sand.

It is that time of year again. Christmas in the Coastal Bend is with its own twist. I love the beach-inspired Christmas ideas that folks here do. Have some fun and add some sea and sun to the season!

I found some cool coastal Christmas ornaments on Pinterest:

This jellyfish is from https://www.etsy.com/listing/59769965/set-of-3-jelly-fish-sea-urchin-christmas?ref=shop_home_feat_2. I just love it!
This jellyfish is from https://www.etsy.com/ I just love it!

Here is a cool diy ornament made with shells and a Styrofoam ball.

This cute idea was from: http://www.homestoriesatoz.com
This cute idea was from: http://www.homestoriesatoz.com

This next one is another diy where you can encapsulate your beach memories and use it year round. I have seen it before, but it is a really cute idea.

I found this one from completelycoastal.com
I found this one from completely-coastal.com

Looking for something cool to do with all of that sea glass you have been saving up? Check this out…

This one was featured on an ornament contest on coastalliving.com
This one was featured on an ornament contest on coastalliving.com

Finally, once you decked the halls inside, you can add some Coastal Bend character to your Christmas outside.

"I told Santa not to feed those birds!"
“I told Santa not to feed those birds!”

 

Merry Christmas from Coastal Bend Life!

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Dia de los Muertos Street Festival in Downtown Corpus Christi

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Painted faces as skulls were everywhere.
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Colorful handmade arts and crafts vendors were abundant.
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Tons of music, dance, food, art, and fun

 

Source:  http://diadelosmuertoscc.com/

Background – Dia de los Muertos

Dia de los Muertos (DDLM) or the Day of the Dead is a traditional holiday in Mexico when deceased friends and family members are remembered and celebrated. It is a poignant time, both solemn and joyous, with colorful artistic traditions, pageantry, and whimsy despite the sobering subject. Dia de los Muertos is a joyful remembrance in which death is recognized as a natural part of the cycle of life.

In the arts, everyday life is represented in skeletal form. A common symbol of Dia de los Muertos is the skull or “calavera” often represented in masks, candy, and other curios. Traditional activities include making sugar skulls decorated with brightly colored icing, papel picaco (cut paper banners) and paper mache’ masks and figures.  Some people believe possessing Day of the Dead items, like tattoos, dolls, sugar skulls or jewelry, can bring good luck.

Souls of the deceased return to visit loved ones on the days of October 31-November 2.  In preparation for the reunion, families create altars to honor the deceased with ofrendas (offerings) of yellow marigolds, memorabilia, photos, favorite foods, beverages and trinkets of the departed.  Religious and spiritual symbols, like the Christian Cross and Virgin Mary often adorn altars, as well.

Because it is a national holiday in Mexico, schools and government offices close, and the streets are decorated.  People, young and old alike, participate in the festivities: parades, dancing in the town square, and processions to the cemetery.  At the cemetery, the spirits are honored with music, dancing, poetry and stories.  Celebrations can take a humorous tone, as people recall funny events and stories about the departed.  In some areas of Mexico, they picnic or even sleep at the gravesite.

This celebration has gone on for centuries in Mexico.  By presenting the Dia de los Muertos festival and educational programming, we are providing an opportunity for people to learn about this rich cultural tradition of Mexico, to create a connection to our past, and to honor and celebrate the deceased.

Our DDLM Festival assists with cultural tourism by drawing artists, vendors, musicians, and festival-goers to Corpus Christi and to the downtown area.  To enhance our DDLM programming, K Space Contemporary has added cultural art workshops during the month of October and a fine art exhibition. During November, a thematically associated exhibition will be displayed in the main gallery, including the Extravagancia de Piñatas, a contest and exhibition of piñatas constructed by area K-12 schools (groups/art classes/art clubs).  These student groups compete for cash awards for classroom supplies.

The 7th Annual Dia de los Muertos Festival was held Saturday, November 1, 3 pm to midnight!  The festival is held in the 400-500 blocks of Starr and 500-700 blocks of Mesquite Streets in downtown Corpus Christi. Everyone is encouraged to wear a costume.  The event includes live music, Mariachis, Folklorico dancers, Hecho a Mano Art Expo, Kids’ Activities, community altar, food, drinks and more.  Texas A & M University Art Department’s “Hold Steady Iron Pouring Crew” will be on hand offering visitors a chance to create their own miniature iron sculpture while the Printmaking Department will be print customized t-shirts.  A community altar is located inside K Space Contemporary.

Many of  Corpus Christi’s favorite artists will be on hand selling their work and El Dia de los Muertos themed items.

The Hecho a Mano Art Expo features over 75 artists offering everything from jewelry to sculpture to all kinds of Dia de los Muertos related trinkets.  Those that are interested in being a vendor will find guidelines and registration information under “Vendor Information” on this website.

We are accepting sponsors and seeking volunteers.   Sponsorship information is available at http://www.diadelosmuertoscc.com.  Anyone interested in volunteering may call (361)887-6834.

Dia de los Muertos Street Festival is coordinated by the Electra Art*Axis Tattoo, K Space Contemporary, Corpus Christi Downtown Management District, and House of Rock. Proceeds from the event benefit K Space Contemporary, a 501 (C) 3 non-profit arts organization.

 

 P.S. I just had to buy 3 of Roel Palacio’s wonderful masks! They are just amazing!

Foaping Fun

I have to admit I have  a new addiction:Foap. Like most folk, I always have my phone-camera with me, so lately, I have been posting pics on the Foap app on my I-phone. I have been a very busy mom lately, and I have not been blogging as much. Check out my portfolio at foap.com under tag: susanb117, if you like to see an example. 😉

  Foap started this Photo app because most of the best pics out there are spontaneous. Most people have a phone cam on them all of the time, so they just snap away without much posing or setting up.

You post your pic, add at title, add some tags, and maybe more information as a caption. You get your pics rated, and hopefully, make some money.  The pics for sale are considered “stock photos” and are for sale for $10 each. Now, I am not the greatest photographer in the world, but it fun to see how others rate your pics. Let's surf

This one got a rating of 3,1. You have to get a minimum rating of at least 2.5 to “qualify” for it to go to market. Since this one has a person, you must verify that you have permission of the person in the picture.

 

 

This one got a rating of 3.3.

Bob Hall Pier

Cloud Sculptures

This crooked one got the highest rating for me at 4.6.  The best rating is a 5. I am brand new at this, but it is Foaping Fun!

September Skies

Keeping September is usually our rainy month, and has not let us down this year in the Coastal Bend. The skies have put on a show of their own. These were snapped with my phone, but you can see the cloud formations are really cool.

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Sculptural clouds form one morning over the Laguna Madre in Flour Bluff.
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Rain clouds billow like smoke over the Laguna Madre.
Rainbow over downtown (2)
Is there a pot of gold in downtown Corpus Christi?

Reflections of Labor Day Weekend

 

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Colorful Reflections from Summer. Photo published by The Island Moon Newspaper who shared this lovely photo by Steven Pituch.

 

When I think of Labor Day weekend I think of…

-Last hoorah

-School in full swing

-Put away the white sandals

-September rains of South Texas

-Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer”

-Our beaches and waterways clear out and quiet down.

What does Labor Day weekend remind you of?

A Snorkeling Surprise in Port Aransas

A couple of weeks ago, I was in Port Aransas for a few days for a teacher workshop at University of Texas Marine Science Institute. While there we were learning a bit more about our coast. During a break, another teacher and I went for a stroll next to the Port Aransas Ship Channel. We met a guy with scuba gear on. I asked him if he could see much. He said sure, as long as the boat traffic remains low. Once that happens, sediments get stirred up, and the water gets a little murky.

The next day, a couple of teachers and I bring our snorkeling gear with and vow to go check things out for ourselves either during lunch or after the workshop was over. We snorkeled by the rocks and by the UTMSI pier and found some fun stuff:

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Checking out a Sergeant-Major fish gliding past a barnacle-encrusted rock.
We found our state shell: the Lightning Welk.
We found our state shell: the Lightning Welk.
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Admiring the delicate colors of the corals and barnacles.
Toward the end of my underwater adventure, I encountered a tangle of bait fish.
Toward the end of my underwater adventure, I encountered a tangle of bait fish.

After a decent session of snorkeling, the boat traffic picked up and the waves were rocking us toward the rocks. When getting out, I just had to be wary of the sharp barnacles.

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised to see what I did. Now, it is not Caribbean snorkeling, but it was still pretty good for our area.

A Decent Place to Run on the Beach: North Padre Island

Hard, packed sand at low tide makes for a pleasant run.
Hard, packed sand at low tide makes for a pleasant run.

Running. For me, it is a necessary evil. I am not a natural runner, but I run to try to stay somewhat fit, and to try to keep up with my young children.  So there are times when I rather not do it, but if I don’t I wished I had.

One way to make running a pleasurable experience is to run outdoors. If you are lucky as I am, it is great to go run at the beach. However, some beaches are better for running than others. While I was in the Caribbean, I got the pleasure to run the beach, but I really had to watch out where I was going since there were occasional rocks, anchors for boats,  and uneven spots.  I sprained many an ankle, and trust me, it is not fun.

North Padre Island is a pretty good spot for running. For the most part, the sand is usually well packed which helps for a decent run. I say try to go during low tide, so consult the tidal reports on the news or internet. Also, there is usually not a huge slant near the shore which helps if you tend to get hip or knee problems. Just watch out for the occasional hole dug for the mote of a sandcastle or the sandcastle itself, for that matter.

Running at the beach also gives the body more resistance, so you get a better workout. If you are really wanting a challenge, run in the loose sand or in the shallow part of the water. You will feel the burn in your legs.

Speaking of burn, be sure to slather the sunscreen, wear a hat, and sunglasses so you will want to go for it next time.

What I like about running at the beach is that you can run pretty much any time of day, and not feel too hot. If I run mid-day, I will carry a bit of water just in case.  I wear Fila “toe shoes” that can get wet, so sometimes I run into the very shallow part of the shore. There I make my own “a/c” with the wind and the sea spray I kick up while running.  What is great is that if you dressed in quick dry clothing, you can just jump in to the waves afterward!  A great reward for a good run!

So, to make pleasure from a chore, run by the shore!