Color Style Kyle

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

Archive for March, 2007

Punk Fashion Dame Steps Out With Shoes

Posted by Kyle Design on March 28, 2007

The one fashion accessory I neglected to mention about Dame Vivienne Westwood’s show at the de Young Museum was her fabulous shoes. This shoemaker’s daughter’s transition from punk princess to designer doyenne can be traced through her footwear designs, starting with long nail studded high heels to the elegant platforms at left.

She has created world famous shoes. In fact, one of the most popular exhibits at the V&A Museum in London is that of these blue mock croc platform shoes that were worn by supermodel Naomi Campbell in a famous runway spill. The ‘Super-elevated Ghillie’ shoes may be impossible for strutting down a catwalk, but would be stunners as “walk in and sit” shoes. Just cross at the thigh and see how long your legs look! She lifts the leaden and elevates it to ethereal. High Heeled Shoes Flask

If you love shoes, don’t miss this show. And for those shoe collectors out there who are looking for something fresh, be sure to check our cool Shoe Gifts collection. Our elegant engravable compact mirrors with a shoe design are a popular bridesmaid gift. How about a cowboy boot Christmas ornament or this designer hip flask in pink? Keep us in mind when you need a new shoe fix.

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Vivienne Westwood Fashion Exhibition in San Francisco

Posted by Kyle Design on March 27, 2007

I waw the Vivienne Westwood show this weekend at the de Young Museum in San Francisco and was so impressed by it. She is a truly great clothing designer who has delighted in shocking with her edgy fashions. Her designs force the eye to go where modesty normally would dictate they avert. A knit sweater with a large opening right over the breasts, a fig-leaf stitched onto the crotch to tights, mini crinolines that sway and allow a sneak peek underneath, elegant evening gowns beaded to resemble breasts, exaggerated backsides designed to create the impression of a small waist. Even my daughters (11 and 8 ) were impressed by the subtle humor of a demure dusty blue dress when they realized that the button pinching in the waist was a tiny penis.

I noticed a teenager attending the show with her father who was dressed in punk fashions — a graffiti t-shirt, baggy black shorts, high-top sneakers, heavy chains. Her outfit highlighted for me how talented Westwood is. This young girl’s ensemble was missing the point of the edgy fashion. Westwood’s clothes are sexy and push your buttons, whereas this young girl was just frumpy.

I loved the peekaboo slashed gowns and the contrast between the rough and poor and the bright and luxurious, and I now have a new-found respect for punk fashions. This is inspirational work that recharges the creative spirit because it is so out of the ordinary, such a contrast to the banality of most fashion.

I smiled the whole way through this show and still can’t get it out of my mind. IMHO, this is a don’t-miss exhibition.

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Metal Wallet Saves Sailors from Disaster (Sort Of)

Posted by Kyle Design on March 26, 2007

Here’s a great story I just received from one of my customers:

You just never know when Kyle’s metal wallet is going to come in handy. This last weekend, I was part of sailing race crew in the San Francisco Bay. As we motored down the Alameda Estuary on the way to the race, I noticed the smell of burning rubber coming from the engine compartment. Immediately, I called up to one of the sailboat’s crew, who happened also to have rewired the boat’s electrical system, to come down. Once he opened the compartment’s doors, smoke and steam came billowing out. “Cut the engine, we have a fire,” he yelled out. It was determined that the exhaust manifold had caught fire. “Kely, do you have a mirror somewhere in your gear?” asked the Captain. Since I’m the only woman on this sailboat, I guess I’m the most likely candidate for this request. I pulled out Kyle’s metal wallet, and handed it down to Pete who was lying prone in the bowels of the boat. It is critical for boaters to to have a functioning engine in the estuary so that they can quickly avoid oncoming container ships and other large vessels. Pete used the shiny case to see the damage to both the engine and the electrical system. Because the case is hinged he could see more than one angle at a time. We were able to make a temporary fix with a beer can and some wire, and then safely motor back to our berth for further repairs. Thank you, Kyle!

Here’s a metal wallet similar to the one she used: Shiny Metel Wallet with Contemporary DesignThis contemporary design even looks like ocean waves. These metal wallets are a stylish way to carry your cash and cards, and apparently are a great way to impress those sailors, too!

I always love to hear stories about how my work is used and where it is has gone, so if you have an interesting tale, be sure to write and let me know!


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Baby Einstein or Baby Neanderthal?

Posted by Kyle Design on March 26, 2007

After a full day of museum-hopping in San Francisco with my two girls, I was happy to just sit at the kitchen table, eat a bowl of Kix and read the back of the cereal box. Imagine my horror to read this from the Share the Adventure series:

Make Your Own Pyramid:

Set the mood for an Egyptian adventure by helping your children build a pyramid. Start the pyramid by cutting three equally sized triangles from a piece of cardboard. Have your child glue the triangles together. Then help them cut out a door and draw bricks on all three sides of the pyramid. Now you’re ready to visit ancient Egypt.

Is this some weird form of revisionist history??? Last time I counted, pyramids had 4 sides, plus the bottom. I put on a great Egyptian party for my daughter about a year ago and not only did I make a FOUR-sided pyramid cake, I also made a huge FOUR-sided pyramid tent that the kids loved. Here’s the picture of the decorate-it-yourself cake with — count them yourself — four sides.

The kicker is that this is from Disney’s Little Einsteins series produced by the Baby Einstein Company. Egyptian Pyramid CakeApparently, nobody at General Mills in the Kix design department even bothered to read this exciting adventure. I suggest that the little geniuses at the Baby Einstein Company get some help with their next cereal box unless they want to create a whole generation of baby Neanderthals. If they should want to build their own pyramid, they can read my Pyramid Cake instructions.

I don’t want one of these baby Einsteins growing up to design any bridge or building I will ever have to use, especially here in California.  Kix: Kid Tested, Idiot Approved.

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UFO Aliens in France? How Do They Smell?

Posted by Kyle Design on March 24, 2007

Does this alien look French to you? No? Well, perhaps he is an American alien tourist in France who chose not to stick around for an insult. Those who have experienced a close encounter of the first kind are always able to describe what they look like, but what I really want to know is how they smell. Alien Christmas OrnamentFrance is the first country to put its full archive of weird sightings online at its website, and it includes pictures and descriptions. Apparently there were a lot of them – in excess of 160,000 unexplained phenomena – but as far as I can tell no descriptions of scent. Of course, it is all in French of which I know very little, so hard to say. That’s one thing the web is missing – an olfactory component. Anyway, scent is a very powerful sense and the last to go when you’re dying, so it just seems to me there should be more information on this from those who managed to escape their abductors. If you should find yourself in this situation with a French alien, here are some helpful phrases for an uplifting experience:

Je concede que j’ai eu tort. I admit I was wrong. (Now I’m a believer…. )

Ou va-t-on? Where are we going?

Vous avez les plus jolis yeux que j’ai jamais vus. You have the prettiest eyes I’ve ever seen.

Portez-moi à votre chef! Take me to your leader! (Of some concern, however, is the fact that the word “chef” is in there…)

Use the following with caution:

J’avais compte sure quelque chose de mieux. I had expected something better.

Une fois suffit, n’y revenez plus. Once is enough. Don’t try it again.

Quel est le plat du jour? What’s the special on today’s menu?

I always assumed that perhaps those claiming a UFO sighting had been drinkingUFO Alien Flask, so I came up with this Alien flask that just enhances the experience. Just the right size to tuck in a boot or pocket and have handy for emergencies, even if you’re already seeing double.

Here’s one more French phrase: Tout le monde en parle. (Everybody is talking about it.) So good luck getting onto the French Space Agency’s Group for Study and Information on Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena section of the website- it is running pretty slowly. To view the archives, click on the link under “Vie extraterrestre ?…” that says Tout les dossiers.

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The Artist’s Spirit: Starting Out – Part 3 – Perseverance

Posted by Kyle Design on March 23, 2007

So, you want to be an artist. How do you know you have what it takes to make a career of it? This is the third in a series about what it takes to survive by a woman who has so far managed to make a living as an artist for 25 years.

Perseverance – Another important characteristic is perseverance. Can you handle delayed gratification? Are you willing to work for an extended period of time (hours? days? months? years?), put in long hours, get up after getting knocked down time and again. If you’re the type who gives up easily, don’t even bother. Things go wrong every day and you must be ready, willing and able to come up with solutions – find another way, a different supplier, change a policy, or create a different look.

Here’s a great quote by Sam Shoen, the U-Haul co-founder: “I believe in luck. The harder I work, the luckier I get.” I think that sums up perseverance pretty darn well. The amount of decision-making is overwhelming at times, and when it comes to problems, there usually is no good answer for many of the questions. I certainly have my down days, but I always snap out of it and hit it hard again. If coffee or chocolate (my favorite) or whatever helps you keep going, great. You must just believe you can make it. Coffee Christmas Ornament
I think being an artist makes it especially difficult to persevere because you must not only run a business but design the product. Using your creativity is very draining – it is like pouring a little bit of yourself into every piece you make. I can go on a long run of designing then must stop because those parts of my brain and my body can’t give anymore. Not to say that the end result can’t be very thrilling, but getting there uses a lot of energy.

If you look forward to the knowledge that every day will be different and enjoy the challenge of each new problem, then a career as an artist just might be for you.

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The Artist’s Spirit: Starting Out – Part 2 – The Desire

Posted by Kyle Design on March 22, 2007

So, you want to be an artist. How do you know you have what it takes to make a career of it? This is the second in a series about what it takes to survive by a woman who has so far managed to make a living as an artist for 25 years.

The Desire – You have to really want to be a professional artist. It is one thing to love being creative, quite another to make it your job. If turning it into something you have to do kills it for you, then maybe it is better to just let it be a vocation. I once heard it described this way: if you would rather work than eat, then you are definitely doing something you love. That’s an example of the amount of desire it takes to survive in this field. It is not easy. Let me repeat. It is not easy. Heart Chewing Gum Holder or Toothpick CaseYou need to have the level of commitment that will get you up early every morning or that allows you to work late (lark vs. night owl – whichever suits your disposition). And that’s how it is for me (a lark). Having to stop and eat is a bother, something I’d rather not to but have no choice. (My doctor insists that I don’t skip meals any more as it is not good for my cholesterol levels!) Not only must you competently run a business on a day-to-day basis, but you must also invent the product, figure out how to produce it for a reasonable price and adapt to changing styles. And, oh man, change they do.

Lest it sound all negative, let me say that it is fun! There is always a lot going on and hardly a dull moment. You have to be a jack of all trades (and still a master of one, namely design) to survive. Yes, yes, take those art classes and see what appeals to you, but be sure to take business classes, too!

Bottom line, it is a business. If you don’t run it that way, you better like heartache! Start with the idea that you want to make a living and make your choices based on that. Trust me, you’ll be much happier in the long run.

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The Artist’s Spirit: Starting Out – Part 1 – Creativity

Posted by Kyle Design on March 21, 2007

So, you want to be an artist. How do you know you have what it takes to make a career of it? This is the first in a series about what it takes to survive by a woman who has so far managed to make a living as an artist for 25 years.

The Creative Spirit – You have to have the innate creative spirit. I have always wanted to be an artist, and I even have it in writing. Each year of school, my mother filled out my “About Me” page in a schoolbook that summarized each grade. When I was only 5, I said that I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. It was such a revelation to open that book thirty years later and read that! Aha! It WAS in my blood, part of my being. Growing up, my drawings were always different than the other kids’. Abstract, colorful, fanciful. So it is definitely a plus if you feel that creative spirit so strongly that you just have to let it out.

And that’s just it, this feeling of needing to express those creative feelings. If you have the urge to design, if you want to put your own individual stamp on a project, have opinions about a better, more attractive or visually interesting way of approaching something you have to do, then you have that creative spirit. This is a very good start.

Here’s my personal experience: I had lost sight of that creative desire in high school and college. I was a good student, studied hard, was accepted to U.C. Berkeley. While in high school, you take those career assessment tests and they tell you what you’d be good at, and without many life experiences, I thought, OK, I guess I could become an engineer. When I entered Cal, I changed my mind to business because I had been working for my parents and their business was fascinating to me. In my freshman and sophomore years, I began to have doubts that a straight-forward career in business was going to hold my attention. So I took weekend art classes, started experimenting with different crafts – painting silk, jewelry making, printing. By the time I graduated, I had decided not to interview for any of the job postings in the Business School career center. “What do you mean, you’re not interviewing for any jobs?!?!?,” my friends cried. The creative spirit was stronger than my desire for money or stability.

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Final Four Home Decor

Posted by Kyle Design on March 20, 2007

Are you a basketball fan? Are you following the games? Are you one of the lucky ones whose team has made it to the playoffs, or even better, hoping for the final four? If you want to keep that spirit of excitement alive that you experience while watching those games, you just might want to try decorating with contemporary basketball themed decor. I’m not talking about some tacky plastic basketball trophy or putting a hoop up in your living room. Final Four Basketball Night LightCheck out this cool basketball night light. Doesn’t scream basketball at you. It is subtle. It is an interesting design that your eye spends time exploring. It is the type of basketball decor you could have in your home without looking like a basketball nut. (You could still be one, you just don’t have to let on to everyone.)

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Nick Douglas Needs a Lucky Condom Holder for SXSW

Posted by Kyle Design on March 19, 2007

So, Nick Douglas hates using condoms. I watched his video rant (since removed) about how annoying it is to use condoms from the South By Southwest Interactive Festival (SXSW) in Austin. Maybe it was just a shameless ploy to get attention for his Look! Shiny! video blog, but he’s going to need a lucky condom holder to get any action after that rant. Is this a guy that practices safe sex or is he just a three-legged death wish? Let’s just hope that he does the right thing, but just reluctantly so.

Lucky Condom Holder CaseIn my opinion he could use a cool condom holder. While Nick was at the largest new media show of the year, he indicated that not enough progress has been made in the field of condom ease of use or tactility. I think the dude just needs an attitude adjustment, because these things aren’t going away any time soon. So maybe a condom case with a lucky four-leaf clover, or ripe cherries, or even a lighthouse would fit the bill. And if he goes back to next year’s South By Southwest show he could even get one with a southwest Kokopelli design. His choice, whatever floats his boat. Based the amount of vitriol he was hurling at the inventor of condoms, I think he sounds like a guy who is ready for marriage…. Settle down, eliminate the issue.

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