December 20th, 2006
I’m sure that the Chamizal Dispute is covered in Texas high school history classes. But it wasn’t covered in my high school (or college) history classes, and I just spent a very enjoyable 20 minutes learning about it.
Apparently, the US and Mexico argued about this 600 acre area near El Paso, TX for close to 80 years because the Rio Grande river channel, which defined the boundary between the two nations, had moved, and both claimed the land (why either nation would want it isn’t quite clear to me — I’ve been to El Paso). In 1910, both countries agreed to arbitration to settle the dispute, but when a decision to split the area between the two countries (with a little over half of it going to Mexico) was reached in 1911, the U.S. rejected it. It wasn’t until Kenedy agreed to resolve the dispute along the lines proposed in 1911 that it was settled.
I had always been under the impression that the Gadsden Purchase was the last bit of territory added to the current United States (when I lived in Tucson, I always thought it was cool that I lived in the Gadsden Purchase, because I’m a dork like that), so it was a surprise to me to learn that it in fact wasn’t — the last bit added was a tiny piece of Texas. Unless you want to count all that new land being manufactured by Hawaiian volcanoes.
December 13th, 2006
My Christmas gifts are in the mail — FedEx, actually, because I didn’t plan ahead better — and I’m very happy with the things I got for people this year. I think they will all be enjoyed and used.
This year Christmas has seemed more work than fun for me. I’m hoping that now that the gifts are off, I can relax this weekend and focus on the fun things.
December 8th, 2006
I’ve recently started making artist trading cards (ATCs). These are small little works of art the size of sports trading cards — 2.5 inches x 3.5 inches (64 x 89 mm). There are only two rules for the cards: (1) they must be exactly the specified size, and (2) they must never be sold. Most people put some information about themselves on the back — their name, e-mail address, website, whatever. Sometimes they write a bit about the way the card was made or the topic.
Thousands of artists and crafters all over the world create these little gems and freely trade them, on line and in person. They are made of every medium imaginable. I’ve made them with collage, paint, and embroidery, and I’ve seen ones made of clay, fabric, drawings, paper mache, metal, and wire. Any material is free game. I’ve made about 50 cards total, and these two are my favorites:
(You can see more cards I’ve made in this Flickr set). But I don’t have these two cards any more — I traded them away for little works of art made by other people. I have this little collection of art that delights me every time I look at it. How wonderful to have these carefully, lovingly made jewels in my home! Here are my two favorites of all the cards I’ve received:
One of the nicest things about ATCs is how easy they are to make. Because of their size, they can be made quickly, no matter what technique you use. They are extremely satisfying projects.