Color Style Kyle

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

Archive for June, 2007

Amazing Bald Eagle Comeback – Just in Time for Independence Day

Posted by Kyle Design on June 30, 2007

I was so surprised and pleased to find out yesterday that the American Bald Eagle, iconic symbol of America, was removed from the threatenedBald Eagle Night Light and endangered animal list on Thursday by the federal government. We can all celebrate the Fourth of July this year knowing that this proud symbol of America will be around awhile longer.

This comeback is considered one of America’s great conservation stories and thank goodness. We certainly wouldn’t have wanted our National Animal to have died off. This would be bad karma, or an ominous omen, or even an unfortunate metaphor for those in power making poor decisions.

The eagles have been in danger of extinction since the mid 1960s when the combination of DDT’s (now banned) and overly aggressive hunting severely diminished their numbers. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we now have over 200 breeding pairs, and nationally we have nearly 10,000. This is up from the frighteningly small total number of fewer than 35 pairs America had in the 1970s, but is still only half the historical high of 400 pairs California had before the problems affected them. Many of the eagles were bred at the San Francisco Zoo in the eagle’s captive breeding Species Survival Program. This program has been so successful that the breeding pairs will now be sent off to Tennessee to help expand the bald eagle population in the South.

Artistic American Eagle Money Clip Pocket KnifeAt Kyle Design, eagles are very popular collector items, especially our money clips and night lights. If you know one of those patriotic individuals who has an eagle collection and are shopping for a unique American made piece to add to it, then you’ll want to check out our Artistic Eagle Gifts and Decor page.

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Oversized Antique Brass Switch Plates – New at Kyle Design

Posted by Kyle Design on June 29, 2007

Exciting news for Kyle Design – we’ve launched our online switch plate superstore Kyle Switch Plates – a source for regular and hard-to-find sizes of switch plates in 17 gorgeous finishes along with matching electrical devices.

Here at Kyle Switch Plates, we have just added 8 sizes of oversized Antique Brass light switch plates to our collection and they are gor-GEOUS! Antique Brass Light Switch PlatesWe now stock over 50 sizes in these beautiful decorative switchplates. These plates are a heavy weight solid brass with a slightly variegated brushed antique finish and will not bend or distort when installed. They’re so amazing I couldn’t resist installing them in my living room.
How large is an oversized wall plate cover? All the light plates are 5.5″ tall. Any single (1 gang) plate is 3.5″ wide, any double (2 gang) is 5.5″ wide and triples (3 gangs) are 7.5″ wide.

Oversize plates are perfect for use to cover any gap between the electrical device and edge of the hole. This is often the case with installations in tile, granite or marble. Extra wide plates are also perfect for covering contractor mistakes, built-up paint or when slight adjustments have been made during an installation.

Problems are not the only reason to decorate with oversized decorative switch plates. Large-scale wallplates also make a bold statement and look stunning in Great Rooms or other locations designed in a large scale format.

Kyle Switch Plates specializes in high quality decorative light switchplates in a wide range of designs and metal finishes. If you’d like to see our full collection, please visit Decorative Light Switch Plates and Accessories.

Posted in Home Decor, Switch Plates, switchplates, Wall Plates | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Book Group Expo in San Jose, CA – June 2007

Posted by Kyle Design on June 14, 2007

The second-annual Book Group Expo in San Jose, CA,Open Book Refrigerator Magnet Clip was held this last weekend and my friends and I had a really wonderful time. This event provides a forum where one can see favorite authors, listen to their thoughts on writing, and hear about the experiences that were the inspirations for their books. This fair was a magnet for avid readers, writers with questions and members of book groups looking for ideas for selections that would make for lively book group discussions.

Book Group Expo organized “salons” around particular themes with three authors on a comfy sofa and a host who interviewed them. After an interesting question and answer session, the authors answered questions posed by audience members. This was the second year that this organization has offered the Book Group Expo for those of us in the San Francisco Bay Area. I was also amazed at how many people flew in from outside the area to attend – I’m sure they found the experience well worth it.

Book Group Expo SalonFor those of us who pre-ordered tickets, we received a handy tote bag with a least 4 books, samples of tea and other goodies. In the marketplace area, vendors were selling or sampling (or even giving away) books, jewelry, chocolate, tea, cookies, wine, even bras(!).

We attended the salon featuring Sara Davidson, author of “Leap!”, Po Bronson, author ofAuthor Elizabeth Gilbert and her book “eat, pray, love” “Why Do I Love These People?”, and Elizabeth Gilbert, author of “eat, pray, love”, shown from left to right in the photo above. Afterwards, we were able to buy their books and have them signed by the authors. At right, we have just had our “eat, pray, love” books signed. I found Elizabeth Gilbert to be quite funny and wise, and am looking forward to reading her book. My friends LOVED “eat, pray, love”. Another author who impressed me was Carolyn Jourdan, writer of “Heart In The Right Place”. She was a high-paid Washington lawyer who left to become the receptionist in her father’s small town medical practice. She was alternately touching and hilarious as she described her experiences.

If you missed this year’s book expo, be sure to sign up for their mailing list for next year. Tickets are cheaper if you order ahead, and then you’ll be sure to get tickets to the most popular events. This year’s hot ticket was the sold-out Friday night salon with Khalid Hosseini, author of “The Kite Runner“, who was introducing his new book, “A Thousand Splendid Suns“.

If you are are part of a reading group and are looking for fun gifts for other book group members (or something for yourself!) be sure to check out our artistic Book Themed Gifts for Book Groups and Readers.

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World Wide Knit in Public Day – Fun Event This Saturday 6/9

Posted by Kyle Design on June 7, 2007

Knitting Needle and Yarn Business Card Carrier Coming up on Saturday, June 9, 2007 is World Wide Knit in Public Day. This is a day that was started by knitter Danielle Landes in 2005 as a way of encouraging fellow knitters to get out and proudly knit while meeting other knitters. It is a fun, casual event that is now celebrated all over the world. To find out more about where you can meet other knitters in your area, see where events are planned and get directions, read the World Wide Knit In Public blog at World Wide KIP Day. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, there are groups meeting in several locations:

  • In Berkeley on the grassy area outside the West Entrance to Cal at the corner ofKnitting Christmas Ornament with Beaded Accents Oxford and Center streets from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • In Los Altos, knitters are meeting at Plaza at the intersection of State and Main Streets from 10am – 2pm.
  • In San Francisco, bring your knitting needles and yarn to Union Square at Powell & Geary streets from 11am to 1pm.
  • In Redwood City, knitting enthusiasts are meeting at the San Mateo County Courthouse in sunny downtown Redwood City from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • In San Rafael, KIP fans will be at the downtown San Rafael City Plaza, bounded by 4th Street and 5th Avenue and Lootens Place and A street.

My daughter Parker is a finger-knitter. Finger knitting is a great Child finger knitting with colorful yarn.crafts activity for kids and a wonderful way to get them hooked on knitting. It is very easy and doesn’t even require knitting needles – you only need yarn and your fingers. Makes a great emergency activity to keep kids busy – you can just carry a small ball of yarn with you and pull it out any time the kids need a way to (quietly) entertain themselves.

For easy directions with a lot of clear photos on how to finger knit, click on How To Instructions for Finger Knitting. Parker and I carefully photographed and wrote down all the steps, plus we included several tips for finishing and using the finished project. We even show you how to Double Finger Knit, too!

If you know a knitter who would like an artistic gift that reflects their talentsSkull and Knitting Needle Pill Holder such as the Knitting business card holder, ornament or pill holders shown in this post, then check out our Unique Knitting Gifts for Knitters. We even have knitting gift designs for Alternative Knitters, too!

Posted in business card holders, Christmas Ornaments, Functional Art, Unique Gifts | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Artists Celebrating a Century of Plastics

Posted by Kyle Design on June 2, 2007

An exhibition opened last week at London’s Science Museum that celebrates the 100th anniversary of the world’s first entirely synthetic material. The show, Plasticity – 100 Years of Making Plastics, explores how plastics have come into our lives, homes and bodies.

Bakelite, a phenol-formaldehyde polymer resin, was the creation of Belgian-American chemist Leo Baekland. His factory turned out billiard balls, tabletops, counters, gears and washing machines. Bakelite jewelry became all the rage in the1930’s and early 1940’s. In the 1967 film The Graduate, the Dustin Hoffman character is offered the one-word career advice of “plastics.” I have to laugh because it appears that my dad took this bit of advice to heart.

My father, the artist Robert G. McKeown, was known for the intricate wood and resin jewelry boxes he designed. He developed this innovative process, which he called “Cloisonne In Wood,” as the result of 10 years of experimentation. His pieces were created by pouring the liquid polyester resin directly into chambers he constructed in the surface of the box top. The resin naturally tended to pull away from the wood, crack, discolor and trap air bubbles. My dad was determined to overcome all these problems because of his strong desire to interpret his elaborate designs in color. He gave me the secret recipe on his death bed in 1989 so that it would not be lost forever. The history of plastic is very much a part of my family history.

So, in a continuation of family tradition, I use plastics to add color to my artwork as well. I Abstract Shell Business Card Holderscreate an unusual, beautiful shimmery iridescent film to embellish my business card holders, pill boxes and Christmas ornaments, etc. I make this special film using a propriety process I developed, so you will only find it on my work. Because it is thin and pliable, it allows great flexibility in how I can use it. This special plastic is one of the qualities that makes my work unique.

To see more of my colorful creations, please visit my website at Kyle Design Personalized Gifts and Home Decor.

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Good News! Monterey Sea Otter Population Increases

Posted by Kyle Design on June 1, 2007

Good news coming out of Monterey, CA, today regarding the Sea Otter population.Stained Glass Sea Otter Night Light Representatives from the U.S. Geological Survey are reporting a 12% increase in the number of California’s southern sea otters who turned up for the annual spring survey. They counted 3,026 animals during the first two weeks of May along the coast from San Mateo to Ventura. While this is good news, it still only represents a 2.4% improvement in the three-year average.

In Monterey Bay itself, representatives found 135 more adults than last year, the single greatest increase. Sounds like a good time to go down to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and check out all those fun, frolicking sea otters. My kids love watching them. It is a great way to spend an afternoon if you’re looking for a fun activity that makes you giggle and laugh!

If you’re a big a fan of sea otters and would like to see other custom sea otter gifts like the stained glass night light above, please visit Kyle Design’s Unique Sea Otter Gifts and Decor.

Posted in Animals, Functional Art, Gifts, kids, Night Lights | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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