Return to Witch, er, Occoneechee Mountain!

Four years and four days ago, Jag and I hiked the trails at Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area. Today we returned, with the three-year-old who was a month or so away from popping into existence the last time we visited. Ch-ch-ch-changes….


Griff was a trooper and handled the 2+ miles really well. The climb up from the quarry (his favorite area of the park) was pretty long and steep for him, so Jag carried him the last few hundred feet to the top.



The last time we were here, the quarry overlook was closed. It was nice to reward our climb with the view from the top.


We also hiked a mile or so on the Cedar Falls Park trails in Chapel Hill on Sunday, so we’re getting a good feeling about being able to start doing this with Griff more regularly. Several times this weekend Jag and I said some variation on, “Six months ago, there’s no way we could have done this!”

I haven’t updated with any crafty projects lately, so here’s what I’ve been working on.

I made Griff a pair of shorts with the Space Grid fabric I designed. He seems to like them, which is the important thing.

Space grid fabric

The Spoonflower fabric printed on Kona cotton fades. A LOT. If I do this again, I’ll look into the cotton canvas, poplin, or some other fabric that has better colorfastness reports.

Alien shorts

I’ve been messing around with watercolor pencils quite a lot lately, and got myself a set of Prismacolor watercolor pencils for Mother’s Day. (They’re quite a bit nicer than the set of Reeves pencils I started with.) Add a pack of inkjet t-shirt transfers from Dharma, and we have t-shirts!

For our little treehugger:

Hug me tree

(Yes, he’s kissing Charmander. No, he’s never seen Pokemon. That’s mommy’s Charmander, bought unironically 10-15 years ago.)

Hug me tree shirt

This was a kind of conflation of all the google images of Brachiosaurus artists’ renderings I could find. (Griff has a toy Brachiosaurus that he loves.) The colors printed out much darker the the original for some reason. I also discovered (after making the shirt) that the latest theories have the brachiosaurus nostrils not so high up on the head, but I guess this’ll have to do for now.

I’m going to try a giraffe next, since he currently has a minor giraffe obsession.

Original watercolor and finished shirt

Dino transfer shirt

I made Griff another button-down shirt, because nothing says “button-down shirt” like pillaging axe-wielding Vikings, amirite?

Viking shirt

Last week we had some time to kill before an appointment, so I hauled out some oatmeal cartons and TP tubes I’d been hoarding and we painted them with craft paint. I cut out doors and glued on construction paper windows and crenellations, and now Griff has some towers to play with.

Cardboard castles

Currently he likes to set them on “fire” and have one of his 43 rescue vehicles come put out the flames and rescue the plastic pirates and dinosaurs.

Cardboard castles

Sometimes a train track mysteriously emerges from one of the towers. I assume it’s some kind of portal to the Island of Sodor.


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