Color Style Kyle

Combining art, creativity, design, family, health, humor and books.

Unique Graduation Gifts for Every Major

Posted by Kyle Designs on March 21, 2014

There’s nothing more special than receiving a gift that is so perfect it feels like it was made just for you. Actually, there is 1 thing that’s more special – giving the perfect gift. When you shop at Kyle Design, that’s exactly what you’ll be doing, because every gift is personalized by you and then handcrafted by us. Find the perfect nursing gift for your niece who’s graduating with her nursing degree. Find the right present for your son who will soon be a physical therapist. Perhaps your daughter is graduating with a degree in teaching, communications, or law. Or maybe your grandson is graduating with honors in science, graphic design or computer programming. Kyle has created over 500 etched metal designs which means you’ll find the career gift that is perfect for him or her.

Click to Shop Unique Graduation Gifts.

Looking for inspiration? Check out this fun video that features some unconventional grad gifts along with some of the best graduation quotes:

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Unique Retractable Badge Reels for Employee IDs

Posted by Kyle Designs on March 10, 2014

Shop Retractable Badge Reels

Ditch that plain, boring badge reel and replace it with a fun, colorful, retractable badge holder that reflects your personality. Whether you prefer a lightweight, plastic badge reel with a nylon cord or a heavy-duty metal reel with a steel cord, you can easily order a decorative reel that fits your style.

Kyle Design carries 10 different styles of retractable badge reels ranging from the super lightweight to the super heavy duty. Each work ID badge holder comes with a decorative metal center featuring one of Kyle’s unique artistic designs. There’s truly something for everyone – baseball for the sports fan, artistic designs for the creative thinker, dogs for the pet lover, fashion themes for women, occupation themes for your office, numbers, monogram letters – and so much more!

How to Order a Personalized Badge Reel at Kyle Design:

It’s easy and fun to create your own personalized badge holder – we promise :)

Decorative Badge ReelSimply click to select a reel with the features you desire – for example a nylon cord verses a steel cord or a fully colored reel verses one with only a gold or silver design.

Once you select the perfect badge reel for you, customize it. Use the design chooser to customize the center design. Shown here are 2 of Kyle’s designs – high heel shoes in gold and a silver decorative crest – but there are hundreds to choose from. Select any design in gold or silver.

Finally, select a color for your new badge holder. Our sample reels are purple and teal but you can also have red, pink, blue, orange, black, yellow, green…you get the point.

Click unique decorative badge reels to get started. Customize a reel for yourself or for a co-worker’s birthday, your son or daughter’s first day at a new job, or as a fun welcome gift for a new employee.

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The Perfect Gift for a Teen Girl

Posted by Kyle Designs on February 20, 2014

Teen girls can be difficult to shop for since clothing and jewelry trends change so often. But with all the selfies being posting nearly around the clock we do know 1 thing teens love, and that’s looking at themselves. If you’re shopping for a birthday gift for your daughter or niece, get her something you know she’ll use – a personalized decorative mirror from Kyle Design.

If you haven’t shopped Kyle Design before, then I’ll let you in on a little secret our shoppers have been taking advantage of for awhile – every gift is personalized just for you.

Decorative Mirrors for Teen GirlsEvery gift that you see can be completely transformed. For instance, this framed mirror is maple, but you can order it in 6 other finishes to match your teen’s room – black, silver, white, cherry and more. That hot pink color peaking out from behind the “K” – well, if your teen is crazy about blue or yellow or purple you can change that too. There are 30 awesome color choices. And the monogram letter K – that comes in silver and gold. But if you don’t want the letter K, there are 500 other design choices to fill that space. You can add your daughter’s monogram letter, age, astrological sign, favorite sport, favorite animal, hobby, food, nature and weather designs….the list goes on and on. Each design was created by the talented female artist Kyle McKeown Mansfield. And each gift available on her gift site – www.kyledesigns.com – comes handcrafted with your favorite colors and designs.

Kyle’s handcrafted framed mirrors for teens can hang on a wall (perfect for selecting jewelry) or sit on a table or counter top (great for putting on makeup). Personalize one for your favorite girl on her birthday, graduation or other special occasion.

Shop all decorative wall & table top mirrors.

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17 Tips for Successful Weight Loss in 2014

Posted by Kyle Designs on February 5, 2014

I have a bit of a bad habit. Every January I commit to getting in shape. I keep it up until I reach my goal, then I treat myself to some pizza here, some Chinese takeout there, and a lot less time being active. See, by then, summer has rolled around and my idea of the perfect afternoon involves relaxing by the pool, not pushing myself on the elliptical. So, by the end of the year I’ve put back all the weight I worked so hard to lose and during the first week of January I step back onto the elliptical feeling like I’ve never worked out a day in my life. And the healthy food on my dinner plate isn’t near as appealing as the greasy fair I’ve become accustomed to.

Sigh.

Sound familiar? Whether you’ve got a chronic case of yo-yo dieting or you’ve put on some weight that you’d like to remove by bikini season – either through a sedentary lifestyle, overindulging during the holidays, or having a baby – it helps to have specific goals in mind. Below are some tips for setting goals that can be reached.

17 Essential Tips for Losing Weight

1. Set specific goals for weight and achievement date.

If I plan to lose 25 pounds but don’t have a date in mind, nothing is going to push me to get there. Look at how much you have to lose, pull out a calendar, and realistically determine how much time it’s going to take you to get there. For me, losing 2 pounds a week is doable. So, if I plan to lose 25 pounds, I’ll set my goal date for 13 weeks out. But that is nowhere near the end of goal setting! You must…

2. Make sure your goal date is realistic.

Losing 2 pounds a week is realistic. You will probably lose more in the beginning if you’re dramatically changing your lifestyle. I go from no physical activity and wolfing down entire Panda Express dinners with 2 sodas to working out 4-5 days a week, eating small servings of grilled chicken and steamed veggies, and cutting out soda altogether. So the first week is a total success as my body goes through the shock of this new lifestyle. But then things slow down and 1-2 pounds is the norm. It’s better to reach your goal early than be nowhere near your dream weight on your goal date, so make it realistic or  you’ll end up disappointed.

3. Set mini goals.

Mini goals ensure you’re staying on track. I set weekly goals. This way, I can really take into account those occasions in which I won’t lose – and may even gain – weight, and be sure they don’t keep me from reaching my end goal on time.

There are times that keeping to a workout schedule or eating healthy won’t be practical. If I have a week-long vacation planned, a birthday to celebrate, or a even a weekend out of town, I can anticipate that there will be setbacks. I know that when I travel it’s difficult to eat healthy and control my portions. If I’m in Chicago, I can’t go without Chicago-style pizza (and I can’t stop after 1 or 2 slices) or Duncan Donuts. If it’s my birthday, I’ll be eating a big dinner out and feasting on cake for at least a few days. And that’s OK! Total deprivation isn’t the key to dieting success. Staying committed is. Look at your calendar and see what events, vacations, or special occasions occur between now and your goal date. This will come into play in the next step…

4. Be sure you’ve adjusted your goals for scheduled breaks in routine.

You may have trips or other calorie fests already on the calendar. Don’t let those be an excuse to delay getting started on your program. Just be sure to build them into your mini goals. For example, let’s say that 5 weeks into my new healthy lifestyle I have a 4 day trip planned, Thursday through Sunday. I know that on Wednesday (the night before my trip) by the time I get off of work, get my nails done, run any last-minute errands and finish packing there will be no time for working out. So I basically have Monday and Tuesday to work out, which means I may only lose 1/2 to 1 pound that week. Then, I’ll essentially be reverting back to my old lifestyle for 4 days because I tend to lose all control when I travel. So there’s a good chance I’ll gain 2 or 3 pounds during my trip. So if the week before my trip my goal was 138, my goal for my weigh-in the morning after I return will be 140 max. Then, I’ll get right back into my routine and have a goal of 138 for the end of the week. If I reach it or beat it I’m happy. If you know you can make healthy eating choices on your trip or you’ll only be gone for a couple of days, you may want to plan to maintain the previous week’s weight while you’re gone.

5. Put your goals in writing.

Now that you’ve set specific and realistic goals, put them in writing. Print out a calendar and fill in your goals. Hang it up on the fridge or near your scale so you can easily keep track of your goals.

Fitness Themed Metal Wallet for Weight Loss Goals

Fitness Themed Metal Wallet for Weight Loss Goals

Even better – engrave your goals into a fitness themed metal wallet (or mini pill box or bookmark). With an engraved metal wallet, you can put money into your “fitspiration” wallet every time you finish a workout. Then, you’ll have all the money you need already set aside to treat yourself when you reach certain mini goals – like a pedicure after you lose the first 15 pounds.

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6. Weigh yourself at the same time.

The best time to weigh yourself is in the morning, naked, before you eat or drink anything and after you pee. If that’s how you weigh in one day, but another day you weigh with clothes on after you’ve eaten dinner, you’re not going to get an accurate reading of how your weight loss is going. And you’re going to be discouraged for no reason! Make it a habit to only weigh in the morning.

7. Use goal tracking tools to chart your progress.

Print out a calendar, download a fitness app on your phone or tablet, or join a website like SparkPeople that tracks your weight loss.

8. Keep a log of your workouts and eating habits.

You’ll lose weight faster if you pay attention to what you’re eating, how much you’re eating, and what types of workouts get results for you. Write down everything you eat and drink daily as well as what specifically you did to work out. If you’re on the treadmill, jot down how far you went, how long it took you and how many calories you burned. Did you do weight training? Make a note of it. Then, you can review your most successful weight loss weeks and see what types of foods and exercises contributed to that success.

Not only does keeping a workout log help you determine what blasts fat the fastest….you’ll love seeing the improvements in your physical fitness as time goes on. When you’re running 5 miles it will feel good to look back at when you struggled to get through 1 mile. And that will inspire you to keep going.

9. Switch up your routine.

Doing the exact same routine day in and day out not only gets boring, but after awhile it won’t get results. So switch it up. If you typically use the treadmill or elliptical, take your workout outside for sprints in the park. Pop into some of the classes your gym offers. Sign up for boot camp. Borrow a friend’s P90X or Insanity DVDs. Browse the web for circuit workouts. Grab a friend and hit the basketball or tennis court. Go hiking with your dog. There are lots of ways to keep from getting bored and prevent yourself from reaching a plateau.

10. Know that interval training is best.

Intervals are always better than a steady pace. Sprints followed by periods of rest burn more calories and boost your metabolism more than going at a steady pace for your entire workout. This can be done while running in your neighborhood, on a track or treadmill, or on an elliptical or exercise bike. Go as hard as you can for 1 minute, then rest for 3 minutes and then repeat 6 times. You can adjust the times as needed, but be sure to give yourself enough time to get your heart rate down between sprints.

11. Don’t forget your muscles!

Strength training is key. It doesn’t matter if you are female and don’t want to “bulk up” and your only goal is to shed the lbs.  The fact is you’ll lose the weight faster if you have more muscle. Muscle boosts your metabolism which means your body burns more calories when you’re at rest if you’ve been weight training. So grab some dumbbells and start sculpting some muscle!

12. Music matters – create a killer playlist.

I can’t tell you how many times I was ready to end my workout but then got re-inspired by just the right song coming through my headphones. Create a playlist that keeps you going. If there are songs that really get you fired up, save those for 1/2 way and then for 3/4 of the way through your workout – they will help get you to the finish line. Sites like ClickMix allow you to adjust the timing of your favorite songs so they’re fast and upbeat enough to keep you going.

13. Reward yourself!!!

Choose certain milestones (like every 10 or 20 pounds lost or fitting into a certain size of clothing) and reward yourself when you reach them. Go for a pedicure or massage or buy some new clothes – this will give you something extra to look forward to.

14. Find the time that works for you.

If you’re a night owl, setting your alarm for 5:00 a.m. and expecting to burst out of bed and fit in a workout before work is only going to set yourself up for failure. If you’re a morning person who is in bed by 9pm, doing a post-work workout isn’t going to work either. Think about what really fits into your schedule. For some people it’s the morning, for others it’s during a lunch break or after work, and some of us do our best at 10:00 p.m.

15. Dress the part.

Obviously you aren’t going to try to work out without the right attire. But when you put your workout gear on can make a difference. Put your gym clothes on right when you wake up (for an a.m. workout) or before you leave the office. If you’re already in your gym clothes when you head out the door, you’ll be less likely to talk yourself out of your workout.

16. Plan mealtimes around convenient workout times.

If you plan to work out after work, but you’re starving, you’ll be more likely to hit the McDonald’s drive thru than the gym. Or, you’re going to be so distracted and weak with hunger that you won’t give it your all. I have breakfast before work, a snack during the morning, and a very late lunch so that I can go straight to the gym after work and it’s only been 3 hours since my last meal. Find meal and workout times that don’t conflict.

17. Don’t beat yourself up when you get off track.

There will be days when temptation is too tough to resist. Maybe your boyfriend or husband brings home pizza or your dining out with friends and the chocolate dessert can’t be passed up. It’s OK to sneak some junk food here and there as long as it doesn’t lead to a week-long gluttonous feast in which you revert back to a sedentary lifestyle. Eat your bad meal – enjoy every bit – and then get back on track. You’ll often find that just 1 meal doesn’t lead to a setback.

Follow these 17 weight loss tips and you’ll be showing off that thinner you sooner than  you think. Be consistent. Stay motivated. And remember, once you reach your goal, don’t be like (the old?) me. Yes, sneak in some of your old favorite treats like pizza, fries, or donuts, but don’t overdo it and don’t cut off all physical activity at the same time. Let’s reach our goals and keep the weight off together.

Shop Fitness Goal Gifts

Posted in Health and Wellness, Lifestyle, Unique Gifts, watching weight, woman, women | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Industry Themed Gifts for Your Staff This Christmas

Posted by Kyle Designs on December 4, 2013

It can be difficult to find a unique gift that is relevant to your line of work and isn’t either too feminine or too masculine for everyone at the office. Our biggest sellers for office holiday parties are our personalized Christmas ornaments with career themed designs in brushed silver.

With several tree ornament body styles to choose from and an array of bead and ribbon colors, you can easily create a look that works for all of your recipients (male or female) and fits your company’s color scheme.

Some of our top industry ornaments this year are our nursing ornaments, construction ornaments and dentist themed ornaments:

construction-ornament dentist-ornament nurse-ornament

With 63 different careers to choose from, our unique occupation themed ornaments are perfect for your 2013 Staff Holiday Party. Find industry gifts for hairdressers, lawyers, police officers, architects, teachers and more at Kyle Design.

Create a Custom Industry Ornament – Here’s How:

Select from our line of Design Your Own Ornaments.

blog-design-your-own-ornaments

Choose the design that represents your field of work (63 occupation designs available) by clicking the orange “Choose” button and then clicking the purple bar labeled “Occupations”:

blog-choose-design-for-ornament

Choose from several body styles (the shape of the ornament):
blog-choose-body-style-2

Make background, bead, and ribbon color selections (the background color is the color that shows behind your selected design – for example the blue behind the grad cap in the image below):

blog-choose-bead-ribbon-ornament-colors

Finally, add an engraved message such as “Merry Christmas 2013″ or your company name and the year:

blog-engrave-your-ornament

Add to cart and you’re done!

It’s that easy to make everyone at the office feel special. Show your hard-working staff how much you appreciate them with a unique job themed ornament that represents your industry.

Ready to design yours? Visit Custom Christmas Ornaments to get started. Most orders ship out in 1-2 business days even with an engraving, but with December being our busiest time of year we can’t guarantee your item will ship that fast so please call to confirm a ship date. If ordering large quantities, you should also call us to ensure your design is available in the quantity you need.

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Ocean Party with Dolphin Cake & Mermaid Pinata

Posted by Kyle Designs on November 14, 2013

How to Create an Ocean Party with Dolphin Birthday Cake & Fun Games for Kids

Ocean Party with Jumping Dolphins Cake for Kayden’s 8th. July 2007. This was a fun-filled slumber party with many ocean themed activities.

mermaidpinata.jpgMermaid Pinata

  • Started with a Mermaid pinata from a local Mexican grocery store that has a great selection of unusual shapes.
  • Dressed her up a bit using sparkling metallic wrapping paper and clip art facial features.

Shop for Unique Nautical Gifts and Decor.

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kelpbed.jpgKelp Bed Decorations for Ocean Party

  • Tape multi-colored blue, green and yellow crepe paper streamers to the ceiling of the room the kids will be sleeping in (for slumber parties) or in a play room.
  • Open the window or turn on a ceiling fan so the kelp can sway and move in the “currents”. Let the kids know they will be sleeping in the kelp bed!

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dolphinscake.jpgDolphin Cake

I created a 3D dolphin cake with raised mother and calf dolphins jumping over the waves. Click on Dolphin Cake Instructions for cake making directions and pattern pieces.

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Make Your Own Fish-Shaped Pizzas

  • Using bread dough such as Bridgeford, let dough rise according to directions. Punch down. Shape bread dough into fish shaped blanks and pre-cook for 10 minutes.
  • Have each child decorate their fish with pizza sauce, pesto, cheese, pepperoni, and any other favorite ingredients.
  • Bake an additional 10 minutes and serve.

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tapeclues.jpgTreasure Hunt Game

  • Created treasure hunt clip art “clues” from Microsoft Clip Art Galleryand various photos of sea animals.
  • Place clip art pictures around the house and yard that hold clues on the back. Clues indicate location of next clue. We had about 30 clues for this age group.
  • Be sure to put out decoy pictures as well to mix things up or add text clues such as Octopus when you have more than one octopus picture up on the walls.
  • Wear out the kids by alternating clues inside and outside, upstairs and downstairs.

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clueback.jpgMoving Targets

Created “clues” from clip art and photos of ocean animals.

  • Hide prizes for all the kids in the final location – we used a bread drawer this time, but a washing machine is also a good hiding place for prizes. We stashed the party favor bags plus some dolphin squirt guns they could play with as the party wound down.
  • I even taped one roaming clue taped to my back! My husband caught a photo of Kayden just at the moment she found of it.

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oceanmermaid.jpgMermaid Decorations

The Ocean Party came to life with a Mermaid pinata “caught” in a real fish net, turquoise tablecloth pinned to the wall, and a sea life scene tablecloth taped to the lower portion of the wall.

  • Strung blue and green colored streamers from the ceiling.
  • After covering the table with turquoise tablecloth, we added ocean themed party supplies such as cups, napkins and plates, plus flatware in blues and greens.
  • We covered the chairs with blue and green felt. Inexpensive felt yardage is available at fabric stores. We even had dolphin switch plates on the walls.
  • Decorated the kitchen walls with an ocean scene imprinted plastic table cover and a turquoise plastic table cover above it. Drew paper fish and used clip art for the finishing touches.
  • Hung up a real fish net and “caught” the mermaid in it.

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waterballoonraces.jpgOcean Party Games

  • Water Balloon Races: Mark a course with chalk or orange cones before the fun begins. Have kids race by running a course with water balloonsalternately tucked under their chins, under their arms and between their legs. Kids can’t touch the balloons with their hands. If the balloon falls and breaks, you’re out. If it survives, pick it up and keep going. Big Hit!
  • Sand Castle Pit: Fill a 4′ round hard plastic kids swimming pool with sand. Add water and supply buckets, spoons and cups as sand castlebuilding tools. Keeps children who are not participating in other events entertained.

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pintaledolphin.jpgPin The Tail on the Dolphin

All the kids enjoyed playing pin the tail on the dolphin – traditional with a twist.

  • Used Dolphin clip art but mixed things up by using tails from all sorts of animals – mermaid, tiger, horse, whale, peacock, dragon, etc., for the kids to try to place in the correct spot. Very funny results!

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dolphins-bookmarkers.jpgWildlife Themed Gifts

If you’d like to see our pet and wildlife themed gifts and decor, go to Creative Animal Gifts where we have unique ideas for more than 40 creatures. Categories include Dolphins, Mermaids, Tropical Fish, Sea Turtlesand Whales.

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Posted in kids, Party Ideas | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Panda Party with Yin Yang Birthday Cake

Posted by Kyle Designs on November 14, 2013

Giant Panda Party with Yin Yang Birthday Cake

panda-pinata.jpgUnique Yin Yang birthday cake, giant panda pinata and bamboo decorations for Kayden’s 5th birthday. March 2004.

Panda Pinata

I created a giant panda pinata by transforming a lion pinata purchased from a local Mexican grocery store. (They usually have an extensive choice of pinatas from which to work.) Starting with packages of black and white tissue, I sliced folded lengths of tissue paper using my fringe template from my sewing supplies. I glued these on with glue stick and then added black construction paper eyes, mouth and nose.

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Homemade Yin Yang Cake Instructions

yingyangcake.jpgBake 2 cakes – one white, one chocolate.
Switch layers, with chocolate on the bottom and white on the top.
To create the curve of the yin yang design, fold up a 15″ long piece of aluminum foil (Reynold’s Release foil works great for this) until it is only about 1″ high to create a 15″ x 1″ piece of stiff aluminum that will hold its shape.
Use the Yin Yang pattern (at bottom of this page) to bend the aluminum into the correct “S” curve shape.
Grease aluminum strip, then bend to fit pattern.
Lay on top of cake.
Frost one side with white frosting, the other with dark chocolate, pushing it right up to foil pattern.
When done, remove foil, then gently push frosting together along seam line.
For dots, use black and white M&Ms or mints. I used the York mints and just frosted the top of one with white.
Scroll to bottom for free printable yin yang cake pattern.
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Panda Party Decorations

panda-party.jpgOn the invitations, we asked all the kids to wear black and white clothing to the party which really added to the atmosphere. We found a black and white zebra print plastic table cloth and plastic utensils to set the stage. Next we created yin yang party plates. Start with two packages of white plates and one package of black party plates (depending upon amount needed – you’ll only need half as many black plates). Cut the black plates in the “S” curve of the yin yang pattern, then overlap one half onto a white plate and glue in place. Finish them out with white and black adhesive label dots. We bought white label dots and colored them in the yin yang pattern and placed a couple on every paper cup. We asked a friend to bring some bamboo cuttings from their yard to place in the corners of the room, added black and white streamers and pulled out all the stuffed panda animals that we had to complete the decor. For goody bags we assembled cellophane bags of black and white jelly beans tied off with black and white curling ribbons, and tucked these inside zebra striped purses along with an animal print bandanna (both available from Oriental Trading.)

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Treasure Hunt Game

This is a very popular activity. We had a treasure hunt with black and white animal pictures (zebras, cats, dogs, skunks, tigers, etc., and of course lots of pandas). Download images or photos (there are many good free clip art sites) of the animals and print both a small clue-sized version of each one you plan to use in addition to a large one. Fold up a small clue and tape it behind the next large picture. Tape up the large pictures around the house and yard. (Be sure to add false clues so they can’t skip ahead.) I recommend writing down the clue list and numbering each one so you are sure to keep them in the right order. Set aside the starting small clue to give them at the start of the game. The prise at the end consisted of inexpensive stuffed panda beanie baby-like toys that we’d found. (The dryer is a always a good hiding place for the treasure.) The kid’s even enjoyed re-hiding the clues afterward for more fun on their own.

Panda Keepsake Gift


panda-nitelites.jpgSurprise the birthday girl or birthday boy with a keepsake gift from his or her panda party – this Panda Night Light from Kyle Design is sure to make a memorable keepsake from this themed party. Shop other unique panda gifts for other gift ideas.
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Panda Bookark Party Favors

panda-silverbookmarks.jpgSend each of your child’s friends home with a personalized panda party favor bookmark – available in different colors for each party guest.
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Free Printable Yin Yang Cake Pattern

Print out the Yin Yang pattern here:

yinyangpattern2.jpg

Posted in Food, kids, Party Ideas | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Monkey Cake with Face & Body

Posted by Kyle Designs on November 14, 2013

Monkey Birthday Cake with Arms, Legs and Tail!

cute-monkey-cake.jpgI decided to try making my own monkey cake after attending a party with a simple store-bought one. When I went looking for monkey cake ideas, all the examples I found just featured monkey heads. So I decided to create a monkey cake with a full-body raised monkey dancing in the jungle. Your kids will really appreciate your making a special cake just for them. Really, it is not that much work and it will mean so much more than just buying a cake at the store.

Visit Unique Monkey Gifts and Favors for many fun ideas – monkey night lights for kid’s bedroom, monkey jewelry boxes, monkey earrings and more.

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monkeycake-bakingpans.jpgMonkey cake baking pans.

  • Display Platter: Create a display plate by covering a piece of cardboard with wrapping paper. Have ready to go when cake comes out of the oven.
  • Cake Batter: I used three batches of cake to make this one. I make my cakes from scratch which really doesn’t take much longer than box mixes and you can avoid the trans fat that way. There are recipes on the box of cake flour.
  • Sheet Cake: I used 1-1/2 batches for the 12″ x 18″ sheet cake pan. I lined the pan with parchment paper per cake instructions and it came right out the pan. (Loosen cake around edges then place display board on top of pan and flip the whole thing.)
  • Cake Body: Create your own parts by placing foil forms inside another baking pan. I created the rest of the body parts by forming rounded head and torso pieces using Reynold’s Release aluminum foil. Fold a long length of foil over on itself twice, so the finished width is about 3″ wide and 18″ long. Shape an oval head about 5″ across and a body about 6″ across and 8″ long. (See what fits in the pans you have and adjust accordingly.) Tuck ends inside the fold and set into baking pan. Pour in cake batter and bake immediately. A small amount of batter may leak out from under forms (let your kid just a early taste of their cake) but for the most part they bake up just fine.
  • Monkey Ears, Arms and Legs: I poured a small amount of batter into a glass cruets for the ears. For the arms and legs, I poured batter into a special pan I have that has extra edges, but any square or rectangular pan will do. (Add foil divisions to pan before pouring in batter so as to create 2″ wide lengths of cake. Leave one larger square area that you can cut the tail out of. It will make it easier to frost later.)
  • Assemble: Tuck wax paper under edges of sheet cake to protect paper while frosting the cake. Tint white frosting green and frost sheet cake. I added wavy lines all over the surface to resemble vines.
  • Arms and Legs: To create the arms and legs, I cut lengths of 5″ long x 2″ wide cake at a diagonal about half way down the length, then switched the left and right end pieces to create the bend in the legs and arms. Gently cut the tail out with a small, sharp knife. Carefully assemble body parts on top of frosted sheet cake, trying to avoid getting too many crumbs on it. I cut a crescent out of the ear circles so they would fit up against the head snuggly.
  • Frost: Make chocolate frosting, reserving some to add to white frosting later to create the lighter body and ear areas. Frost cake dark brown. Add lighter frosting to ears, face and torso. Add Junior Mints for eyes, caramel pieces rolled into nostrils and either black licorice string or black decorating gel for the smile and hand/feet details. For the finishing touch, I decorated around it with some jungle tree branches. You could also cut leaves out of construction paper.

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monkeyboxesax.jpg

Monkey Keepsake Gifts

If you’re throwing a monkey themed party, consider giving the birthday girl or boy a monkey keepsake gift like this monkey memory box.

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monkeymagnetsclips.jpgMonkey Party Favors

Kyle Design has a great selection of monkey gifts – many of which make great party favors. Consider gifting monkey bookmarks or monkey magnets as unique party favors at your monkey themed party.

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Posted in Food, kids, Party Ideas | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Monkey Party with Fun Games & Activities

Posted by Kyle Designs on November 14, 2013

How to Throw a Monkey Party with Fun Games and Baboons

baboon-face.jpgThis was a fun-filled birthday party for the 9-year-old daughter of friends that had 50 kids with many monkey themed activities. My husband and I helped with decorations and creating the games, but I’ve added some additional ideas here.

Shop for Unique Monkey Gifts and Decor.

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keith-baboon-kids.jpgWorking with Real Primates

Kevin Keith from Monkey Business Productions working with the baboon at party for kids and adults. The kids learned a lot without being aware it was actually a lesson about primates.

  • Monkey Business Productions based in Napa Valley, CA, gave the presentation which featured live baboons and birds - absolutely fantastic! Call Martina and Kevin Keith at 800-278-0002 if you’d like to have them perform at your party in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Good looking, funny, fast-moving (both the humans and the primates). Very entertaining, informative and funny!

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kevin-keith-baboon.jpgLive Baboon Entertainment

Kevin Keith with live baboon at monkey party. These animals have a lot of personality and are so much fun to watch.

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monkey-jacobs-head.jpgMonkey Business

Baboon sitting on party guest’s head. They can kid around with the best of them. Warning – don’t try to out-entertain the entertainers. They are very talented and you will quickly become the punch line of the joke.

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monkey-preening-game.jpgMonkey Fur Preening Competition

Fast-faced entertaining game that was *very* different than any other party game you’ve played. Kids were all very into trying to win.

  • Buy a piece of fake fur fabric with long hair. Cut up into equal-sized sections (large enough for all kids to comfortable sit or stand around) with one for each group and place on construction tables or the floor.
  • Toss a generous handful of rice across the fur. Set put a small bowl that the kids will use to fill with the rice (lice?) they collect.
  • Give kids 2 minutes to collect as much rice as they can. Weigh with postal scale or measure results with measuring spoons if it is too close to eye-ball. Team with the most rice wins.

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monkey-rope-climbing-game.jpgMonkey Rope-Climbing Contest

  • Tape yellow construction paper bananas to the top of an arbor. Tie ropes with knots tied about every 12″.
  • Have teams race to climb up the rope, grab a banana, climb down and race to place banana in a basket.
  • First team with 5 (or more, depending on the number of kids participating) bananas wins.

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monkey-rope-climber.jpgTreasure Hunt

Monkey party rope climber was trying to reach clue at the top of the ropes.

  • Created “clues” from clip art and photos of primates and bananas. Use clip art from the Microsoft Clip Art Gallery.
  • Place clip art pictures around the home and yards that have clues taped on the backside. Clues give a hint about the location of next clue. About 20 – 25 clues would be a good amount for this age group. We recommend putting up decoy pictures to mix things up, plus adding text clues such as Lemur when you have more than one lemur picture up on the walls. Adding text identifying each primate is educational without being obvious about it. Wear out the kids by alternating clues inside and outside, as well as upstairs and downstairs.
  • Hide prizes for all the kids in a secret location for the final clue. Suggested hiding spots include a a basket in the pantry, bread drawer, inside the oven (tape over the knob with the word “stop” if using this hiding spot), or in the washing machine. Any of these can be good hiding place for prizes. The prizes were actually the party favor bags plus some squirt guns to play with as the party wound down.

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monkey-banners.jpgMonkey Party Decorations

  • Barrel of Monkey Decorations: Accordion-fold a long length of plain wrapping paper into 3′ wide sections. Draw on a monkey with its tail touching the right edge and one of each of its hands touching a side. (See picture of yellow and red banner monkeys.) Cut out, being sure not to cut through the edges where the monkey is touching the edges. Unfold and draw eyes, mouth, nostrils, lines between fingers and ear details on each section. This creates a long connected chain of monkeys. Tape to walls, railings and across windows.
  • String yellow and green colored streamers from the ceiling to look likevines.
  • Covered table with green tablecloth. Add monkey-themed party supplies such as napkins, cups, and plates, plus plastic knives, spoons and forksin shades of green, brown or black.
  • Use inflatable plastic monkeys from party supply store online and hang them from railings, chandeliers, doorknobs, etc.

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cute-monkey-cake.jpgMonkey Cake and Monkey Party Food

Although we helped with the games and decorations at this party we attended, the hostess just had a store-bought a birthday cake with plastic monkeys stuck on it. I decided to try making my own monkey cake later as shown at left.

  • Monkey Cake: For cake making directions and pattern pieces, click on Monkey Cake Instructions.
  • Monkey Pizzas: For a smaller group, have kids make their own monkeyface pizzas. Start with mini Boboli pizzas or use refrigerated pizza dough like they have at Trader Joe’s and pre-bake about 10 minutes. Have each child decorate their own monkey face with pizza sauce, pesto, cheese, pepperoni, veggies and any other favorite ingredients. Have the kids press their initials into the edge of the crust. Bake an additional 10 minutes and serve. Set out an example for them to get ideas to start. Use pizza sauce for the oval mouth or jowl area, pepperoni for the eyes, string cheese to create a smile, etc.
  • Monkey Food: Set out bananas and other fruit around the party as decorations and quick snack food if the kids get hungry.

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monkeyboxesax.jpgMonkey Keepsake Box for Birthday Boy or Girl

Create a special monkey keepsake with this personalized jewelry or keepsake box feautring a monkey and your choice of colored glass inlay.

If you’d like to see our primate-themed gift and home furnishing ideas, go to Monkey Gifts and Decor or visit Creative Animal Gifts to shop unique gift ideas featuring wild and pet animals!

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Posted in Party Ideas | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Beverly Hills Chihuahua Party, Aztec Dog Pinata, Mayan Temple Cake

Posted by Kyle Designs on November 14, 2013

Shop Chihuahua Party Gifts

How to Throw a Chihuahua Dog Party with Mayan Temple Cake

Aztec Party with Sitting Dog Cake for Kyle’s daughter Kayden’s 9th birthday. August 2008. This was a fun-filled slumber party with many Aztec or dog themed activities based on the upcoming Disney movie Beverly Hills Chihuahua.

aztec-party-decorations.jpgMayan Temple Wall Decor

Created a mural made from construction paper, markers, spray paint in shades of green and brown to create a quasi-jungle look.

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aztec-chihuahua-pinata.jpgFancy Golden Chihuahua Dog Pinata

Started with a pink pony pinata, covered it with metallic tissue paper, then with fringe. Added dramatic headdress made of metallic poster board, construction paper and wrapping paper.

  • Basic Form: Started with a pink pony pinata from a local Mexican grocery store that has a great selection of unusual shapes.
  • Convert to Dog: Covered the whole thing with metallic tissue paper, then covered it with fringe. I have a fringe making template that I got at the fabric store. Created a curved tail out of cardboard and a metal coat hanger, and taped on giant cardboard ears as well.
  • Finishing Details: Kayden created a nose out of black tissue paper and a cotton ball. dded construction paper eyes. My other daughter then created a huge fancy headdress out of metallic poster board, construction paper and wrapping paper.

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aztec-pyramid-mayan-temple.jpgGiant Aztec or Mayan Pyramid Sculpture Driveway Centerpiece

  • Mayan Pyramid Play Structure: My husband built a huge Mayan pyramid in our driveway for the kids to play on. I have always lamented that none of the trees on our property would ever be large enough for a tree house like I had as a child. My husband’s solution was to create the 14′ wide (at the base) and 11′ high stepped pyramid complete with hammock and solar lighting. It provides a great view of the neighborhood! Everyone’s favorite hang-out place now.

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girls-pyramid.jpgMayan Temple Play Structure

Mayan temple play structure was big enough for all party guests to play on it at the same time.

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chihuahua-cake1.jpgAztec Chihuahua Warrior Cake on Mayan Temple

Warrior Dog Birthday Cake: Created a dog cake with a Chihuahua sitting on top of a three-layer pyramid temple. The kids loved it! Visit Chihuahua Cake Directions for step by step instructions on how to make this unique dog birthday cake.

Beverly Hills Chihuahua Dog Cake

  • Warrior Dog: Created a dog cake with a Chihuahua sitting on top of a 3 layer pyramid temple.
  • Directions: For cake-making directions and step-by-step photo guide, click on Dog Cake Instructions.

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chihuahua-dog-collar-necklaces.jpgChihuahua Dog Collar Necklaces

Party Favors: Used the Chihuahua dog necklaces with inexpensive collar necklaces from Dollar Tree.

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dog-pyramid-game-clues.jpgTreasure Hunt

Treasure Hunt Clues: Print out photos of dogs, Aztec temples and Mayan pyramids to hide.

  • Creating the Clues: Created “clues” from clip art and photos of Mayan temples, Aztec pyramids, and Chihuahuas. I use clip art from the Microsoft Clip Art Gallery. In addition, I found some very funny Chihuahua pictures on Google Images.
  • Hiding Clues: Place clip art pictures around the house and yard that hold clues on the back. Clues indicate location of next clue. We had about a dozen clues for this age group. Be sure to put out decoy pictures as well to mix things up or add text clues such as Pyramid when you have more than one temple picture up on the walls. Wear out the kids by alternating clues inside and outside, upstairs and downstairs.
  • Treasure at the End: Hide prizes for all the kids in the final location – we used the furnace closet this time, but a bread drawer or dryer are also a good hiding places for prizes. We stashed the party favor bags that had Silly Putty, gum and small toys the children could play with until the parents arrived.

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memory-game-kids.jpgMemory Game

The girls playing the Memory Game at the table decorated with golden paper plates, golden flatware, red table runner.

  • Memory Game: Lay out a tray of 25 common household items. Give each kid a piece of paper and pencil. Give the kids 2 minutes to look a the items, then cover them up and take the tray away. Allow the kids another 3 minutes to write down everything they can remember. Winner received a prize. (We actually had a tie and so had to let the the two girls battle it out with another 30 seconds for viewing and 1 minute for writing them down.) Big Hit!
  • Tape the Chihuahua on the Temple Top: Variation of Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Printed out 8 little pictures of Chihuahuas and a larger temple for the wall. Cover their eyes with a hand towel with extra folded up small soft towel or wash cloth over the eyes to eliminate any temptation of peaking. Spin the girls around 3 or 4 times and point them in the right direction. Prize goes to the one whose Chihuahua dog is closest to the top.

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pin-chihuahua-temple-top.jpgTape Chihuahua to Temple Top

Variation of Pin the Tail on the Donkey game with little pictures of Chihuahuas and a larger temple.

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apocalypto-pinata.jpgAztec Maiden Backup Pinata

The girls couldn’t bring themselves to destroy the golden chihuahua, so we quickly converted a hula girl pinata with blue warrior paint.

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pinata-before-conversion.jpgPink Pony “Before” Pinata

That ugly pink pony pinata that we started with – it had potential….

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chihuahua-pinata-kyle.jpgConverting Pinata To Chihuahua Dog

America’s Next Top Chihuahua Model: Starting the transformation using gold metallic tissue paper, cardboard ears and tail.

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aztec-chihuahua-pinata.jpgFinished Aztec Pinata
This is much better!
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french-toast-cuts.jpgParty Food

Cut Up Texas Toast for Pyramid: How to cut up the Texas Toast into three sizes of squares.

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aztec-pyramid-french-toast.jpgAztec Pyramid French Toast

Golden Aztec Temple French Toast – three layers of fried Texas toast held together with a chihuahua-topped bamboo skewer.

  • Make Your Own Pizzas Using bread dough such as the refrigerated kind from Trader Joe’s, which is available in both white and whole wheat versions. Roll out into circles, then pre-cook for 10 minutes. Have each child decorate their dough with pizza sauce, pesto, cheese, pepperoni, ham, pineapple and any other favorite ingredients. Bake an additional 5-10 minutes and serve.
  • Mayan Temple French Toast: Created 3-layer temples of golden French toast. First layer is one piece of Texas Toast. Layer two has the rinds cut off. For layer three, cut off rinds then cut remaining piece into 4 squares. Dip and fry separately. Assemble in a stack, hold together with chihuahua-topped skewer and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Skewer with a strawberry if desired. Serve with syrup that will pour down the side.
  • Drinks: Served apple juice and sparkling water so kids could mix their own “sodas”.

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chihuahua-party-plates.jpgGolden Chihuahua Party Plates

Create golden chihuahua plates by cutting out dog shape from alternating colors of yellow and gold plates and gluing together.

Decorations

  • Chihuahua Plates: Bought gold and yellow plates, then cut out chihuahua puppy dog shapes from one color and glued onto contrasting colored plate.
  • Streamers: Strung gold, blue and green colored streamers from the ceiling.
  • Table Decor: Covered table with temple-colored (neutral) tablecloth. Added red and gold party supplies such as cups, napkins, plates and flatware.
  • Transform Your Chairs: Covered chairs with gold felt. Inexpensive felt yardage is available at fabric stores.
  • Wall Mural: Decorated the kitchen walls with Kraft paper on which we drew a giant Mayan temple covered with Mayan Dog heads. Spray-painted paper with shades of green and brown to create a quasi-jungle look.

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chihuahua-skewers.jpgDog Skewers to Hold French Toast

Made simple chihuahua dog skewers with paper photos of dogs on a long strip of paper. Fold over and attach with double-stick tape.

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Click Creative Animal Gifts where we have unique ideas for pet and wildlife themed gifts and decor in more than 80 creatures including Chihuahuas and Dogs

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.Shop Chihuahua Party Gifts
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