Category Archives: Things To Do

Sand Castle Friday #21: S is for Sand Castles

I used to live at the beach: Surfside Beach SC, Siesta Key FL, and close enough in both Houston TX and Fairhope AL. I always liked seeing the sand castles that visitors would make. It always seemed that the majority of sand castles appeared as day-old ruins on Saturday mornings. My hypothesis is that vacationers staying for the week have to check off “build a sand castle” on their list of things to do before they leave to go home.  Next time you are at the beach, check it out.

Anyway, I have been doing a Sand Castle Friday post for the past 20 weeks in honor of these to-do-list vacationers.

Sand sculpture competitions are all year round. You can find one near you at The International Sandsculpting Championship event is in September in Virginia Beach. You’ll see all kinds of sculptures made of sand. Of course if it was a sand castle contest, entrants could only build sand castles. All others would be disqualified.

Do you remember the Nickelodeon “Rocket Power” cartoon? There was an episode where all of the kids entered the sand castle building contest. Wow… were they all competitive and creative?! In the end, though, the winner was the littlest member of the crowd because she was the only one to build a sand castle; a simple castle.  Moral of the story: read the fine print when you enter a contest.

Sand castles are awesome and fun to build. I think just playing with the sand, the tactile experience is relaxing.  And, if your mind wanders and you end up building something fantastic, it’s a great day!

Don’t know how to make one? Want lessons? Or, do you want a sand castle for your beach-front wedding ceremony? There are professionals in many beach towns that can help you. Just internet search “sand castle lessons”. I’ve found several in Florida.

IMG_2069 (1)When was the last time you made a sand castle? I built one this summer; little but fun and made with my empty coffee cup.

S is for Sand Castle.

S is for Scuba

I’ve never been scuba diving although I know plenty of people who have. I live underwater through them.

There is so much to see under water: reefs, fish, marine life, topography, marine plants.

There are plenty of places around the world to go on a scuba adventure. But if you don’t know how, can’t afford the classes and equipment rentals or just feel uncomfortable under water, try snorkeling.

S is for scuba…and snorkeling, too.


photo credit: Solomon Islands – cavern diving via photopin (license)

Sand Castle Friday #12

Looking through some old family photos from our life on Siesta Key several years ago. I found this of my youngest son making a sand castle with a boy who was on vacation. These young boys didn’t know each other but had a great time playing together that day and made a cool castle.


Happy Sand Castle Friday.

Sand Castle Friday #9

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This sand castle never quite made it. I watched from my beach blanket as children were stuffing sand into their sand castle molds. Each mold was turned over and then removed to reveal a crumbling section of what might be a castle.

They never really finished their work, smashing a few of their creations and moving on to something else like jumping waves in the surf. The children never joined these mounds with a wall of sand to protect the population that may have been planning to live within. So here is just the ruins of an abandoned project. Kind of reminds me of the subdivisions that were never finished because of the recession in 2008.

Happy Sand Castle Friday. Will you build one today?

Sand Castle Friday #7

After walking all morning without a sand castle in sight, I decided to make my own.

When I’m coastal, my husband and I take every morning that we can and walk the beach. The sun is just rising, the breeze is slight, shore birds are scurrying about. It is the best time of day.

With a coffee in hand, camera in my pocket and sometimes a bag for shells (if I’m on a shelly beach) we set out to walk the tide line.

There are always exciting and crazy things to spot on the beach, early in the morning. Sadly trash from the day before (I’ve been known to collect it if I remember to bring a trash bag), but on a happy note there could be exciting shells, washed up sea life, sea glass, sea beans and more. Sand castles and sculptures are left from the day before and some survive the crashing waves and other things that can destroy a work of art.

I had finished my coffee and decided to make my own castle since there were none to see on our walk.

Happy Sand Castle Friday. Will you make a castle this weekend?


Sand Castle Friday #6

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These are fun to make and only require your hands, some wet sand and imagination; no purchased tools necessary.

So what you do is first find an area just beyond the high-water line on the beach. This way you have wet sand but you don’t risk the waves constantly crashing it.

Gather up some wet sand in your hand, holding it with a fist and let the sand drip out from the space you make in your fist around your pinky finger. Keep building up the drips, making the area wider and taller and viola! You have an awesome castle after a while.

You could take a bucket, if you have one handy, and fill it with both sand and water and pull wet sand from there to dribble. Be sure, however, to let most of the water filter from your hand before dribbling sand or it will be too wet and you won’t get the clumpy texture on your castle.

Dribble Sand Castle making is one of those things you may practice with for a little while before mastering it, but it is easy to master in a short amount of time.  If you can sift dry sand from a fisted-hand, you can dribble wet sand to make a sand castle.

You can make Dribble Sand Castles on any beach. The sand doesn’t have to be a particular texture. I used to make these as a kid growing up with Ocean City MD sand. Later, raising my kids in Myrtle Beach SC, we would make Dribble Sand Castles with that finer sand, and again with the varying Sarasota FL sands. Dribble Sand Castles are awesome.

The current fad for relaxation and destressing is coloring books.  I think a better option for relaxation and destressing is sifting sand through your hand and making Dribble Sand Castles.  You can also simply keep a decorative bucket of sand in your house or office to sift through for relaxation; throw in a few small shells to play with and let your thoughts float.

I found this castle (pictured above) on a morning beach walk. It appears to have been overtaken by the tide on one side, although maybe the tide-side was really left undeveloped around the hole.  You never know. Morning beach walks are exciting, because you can find castle and sculpture remnants that keep you guessing.  I highly recommend morning beach walks.

Happy Sand Castle Friday. Will you make one this weekend?


Houston Texas Art

Back in 2007 we lived in Houston, TX for a brief time. We moved there during the summer and while my husband was at work, the boys and I went exploring. I’d pull off almost every highway exit to find out what was there.

One area we explored was the studio of David Adickes, sculpture artist, and we had a ball that day. David had made oversized sculptures of U.S. Presidents for a President’s Park in Virginia and many extras were parked in the studio lot for viewing.  We were able to explore the parking lot and his warehouse studio to enjoy the huge works of art he is famous for.  We saw statues of the Beatles, Charlie Chaplin, many former presidents and more and later took my husband back to see them.

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I recently read in a Smithsonian Magazine article that the Virginia President’s Park was closed and rather than destroying the busts, a gentleman bought them to store on his farm nearby.

It is sad to me that the Park wasn’t visited enough to maintain it. The art was in need of repair or replacement, too, which was adding to the projected expense so as a business decision, the park was closed. Although we are from Virginia, we haven’t been there in many years and consequently have never visited the park.

David Adickes’ art can be found in Houston so if you get to visit that great city, or live there, I recommend you seeking out these statues.  The artist had to move his studio and the large Beatles statues were put into storage but I haven’t been able to get an update on where they will be relocated.  The new studio is at 2401 Nance Street but I’m told it is not as visitor friendly. I recommend trying to get in anyway.

In the old location, the boys and I drove up to the statues, toured the warehouse and talked to the artist. I am glad we got to see this and hope you can, too.  You can drive around Houston and pick out some other art pieces he had done. I do not, however, have locations for you.