Color Style Kyle

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Archive for September, 2007

Shrinking Sea Turtle Populations – Five Year Report

Posted by Kyle Design on September 24, 2007

Sea Turtle Tape MeasuresLoggerhead sea turtle populations are again dropping, which is disappointing after the encouraging gains in the 1990s. Loggerhead sea turtles are still listed as a threatened species, but the report still didn’t recommend upgrading them to endangered status.

The review was conducted jointly by the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service. The Endangered Species Act requires a status update every five years, and the review is actually a compilation of previously released reports. U.S. nesting dropped almost 7% annually in the Gulf of Mexico according to the report, with South Florida nesting showing a 4% annual drop. The Carolinas and Georgia experienced 2% drops.

Sea Turtle Night LightsThe nesting areas of the Loggerhead sea turtles range along the southern United States from Texas to North Carolina, with Florida being the largest area. The turtles migrate over long distances and spend most of their lives in the sea and females generally only leave it to lay eggs in nests they dig in the sand. There is another large nesting area for Loggerheads in Oman in the Middle East.

According to the NOAA Fisheries‘ site, “Major threats to sea turtles include the destruction and alteration of nesting and foraging habitats, accidental capture in commercial and recreational fisheries, entanglement in marine debris, and vessel strikes.” In other words, man.

If you interested in sea turtles, you may like to see our other Sea Turtle Gifts and Honu Decor like the Sea Turtle Tape Measure or Sea Turtle Night Light shown above. Honu is the Hawaiian name for Sea Turtles.

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Farewell to Jewelry Maker, Painter, Artist Laurel Burch

Posted by Kyle Design on September 23, 2007

I want to comment on San Francisco Bay Area artist, painter and jeweler Laurel Burch who died September 13 at the age of 61 from osteopetrosis, a rare congenital bone disease.

When I saw her obituary in the paper today, I actually cried out and my daughter asked, “What’s wrong, Mom?” In the mid 80’s, when I was producing my hand-painted silk jewelry line, she was a huge company and a source of inspiration for me.

Laurel Burch was known for her colorful cloisonné jewelry and especially her cat designs. She also designed coffee cups, tote bags, blankets, pillows and many, many other gift items in an updated folk art or tribal style. Her work was ubiquitous and a constant reminder to keep at it, keep designing, don’t give up.

I went to a lecture she gave at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco in the early 1990s and came away with a renewed sense of passion and creativity. She approached me after the lecture to compliment me on the colors of my outfit – the highest praise, coming from her. I was on cloud nine!

I started my business 25 years ago this month while a senior at U.C. Berkeley and IKyle Design Hand-Painted Silk Earrings of Cats assure you, those early years were tough. Eighty hour weeks, no money for anything, not even a haircut or the dentist. Trying to find my way, develop a style and figure out what would sell. And keep my spirits up. Certainly, my style has evolved over the years, but simply put, I guess I would describe my look is contemporary, colorful and detailed – here are my cat earrings made of hand-painted silk in 23K gold-plated settings. Please visit my Unique Cat Gifts page to see other pieces.

Laurel Burch left her home in the San Fernando Valley at 14, moved to San Francisco at 20 and began making jewelry from unusual things – bones, coins and beads – to support her baby daughter. The disease she battled from birth caused her bones to break very easily and caused pain and fatigue. Despite all this, she still managed to build a multi-million dollar business in what was traditionally a man’s world because of her passion and skills as as artist.

Cat Ornament for Christmas HolidayAfter listening to the challenges Laurel Burch faced her whole life, I could put it all in perspective and know that this was only a challenge to see how committed I was to being an entrepreneur, to life as an artist. Being creative is something I have to do: I believe it is somehow part of my physical make-up. I have so many new products and ideas in the works – I’m always behind getting them up on the site. Check here to see what is new each week: What’s New at Kyle Design.

So here I am, twenty-five years and counting…. Thank you, Laurel Burch. I will miss you.

Posted in Cats, Christmas Ornaments, craftswomen, designer, entrepreneur, Unique Gifts | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The New Color of Money: Purple $5 Bills – Money Clips to Match!

Posted by Kyle Design on September 23, 2007

Anyone who knows me knows that I love the color purple, Contemporary Dollar Sign Money Clip in Purpleso when the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing announced the new $5 bill this week, I was really excited. Turns out, they are using purple on the new bill as one of its new security and usability features. While the redesigned U.S. bills up to this point were only using pastel colors, the new $5 is a departure. There will now be a large number 5 in purple in the bottom right on the back of the bill. This apparently will make it easier to identify for the visually impaired. Click the link above to see a picture of it. Purple works for me!

The new money is being printed now but won’t be released into circulation until the spring. This will give companies time to retool their vending machines and change-making equipment to accept the new bills.

Do you like to coordinate colors? Want a new purple Dollar Sign Money Clip to match the new bills? (This is how my mind works…I love color.) Quick aside: When I was a student at Cal, I would even coordinate my pencils to my outfits. (Why? Because I could. – Hey, I’m a woman. I’m an artist. I’m different. – I found all these colorful, beautifully decorated pencils on my last trip to Japan, so I could have a teal and purple day or a pink and black day, or whatever.)

Ladybug Condom Carriers for the LadiesAnyway, the point is, if you do want to coordinate your accessories, or you have a favorite color we can accommodate you. At Kyle Design we custom make all of our gift items to order so you can choose the design (and we have a lot of them!), metal finish and the color accent to make it all your own. No more settling for what someone else thinks is a good design for a particular gift item (but I don’t want a lavender ladybug condom carrier – although somebody else did this week) or limited color choices (the “it comes in black – take it or leave it” approach to gift offerings). And finally some unusual gift ideas (be gone with the ties and perfume!).

If you’re someone who loves color, then be sure to visit Kyle Design for a huge collection of unique, colorful gifts and home furnishings (designed by me 🙂 ). We have cool money clips, flasks, tape measures, pencil boxes and more in designs that make great gifts for her as well as gifts for him.

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Child Safety Tips: Hey Kids! Watch Out For Escalator Crocs

Posted by Kyle Design on September 22, 2007

So, you thought you only had to watch out for crocs at swamps. Reports in papers andCrocodile Travel Sweetener Packet Carriers online are now circulating about injuries caused on escalators from wearing soft-sole shoes like the brightly-colored Crocs, but even flip-flops can be dangerous. Most of those injured seem to be young children and the injuries are often on the toes.

So, how to protect your kids? Have fun while teaching your children to be safe:

  • Make a game of being safe. I’m not a fan of scaring kids into behaving, so I wouldn’t recommend saying that escalators are dangerous and instilling a life-long fear of them (you’ll be sorry the next time you’re running late and need to take an escalator with tired, cranky kids). Instead, I suggest telling them to pretend that there are escalator crocs that want to bite your toes, but see if you can ride your boat (the step) all the way up the river (moving escalator) without getting near the edge of the river (sides of the escalator). At the end you have to jump over the crocodile’s teeth to escape. Everyone has fun, has a sense of accomplishment and leaves with a smile on their face. A win-win situation!
  • Specifically: Have them stand in the middle of the step and help them jump over the teeth at the end of the escalator.
  • In addition, children should not let their feet rub against the side of the escalator because the heat created from the friction can cause the rubber to soften and so be more likely to get pulled into the gap.

Pretty Compact Mirrors with Flip-Flops Keep this in mind as well: I’ve heard that kids don’t hear the way we think they might,Artistic Feet Key Rings especially if we are scolding or directing them. A parent can say, “Don’t stick your toes in the escalator teeth.” But when the child actually starts listening (or stops tuning us out) , what they hear is “Don’t Stick your toes in the escalator teeth.” The child then might be curious about what will happen and will react before you have a chance to make sure they understand. Whenever possible use positive, affirmative sentences – tell them what they should do.

If you’d like to see more of our unique gift items like the Crocodile sweetener packet case, Flip-Flops compact mirror or the Feet key ring shown above, please visit our Alligator and Crocodile Gifts, Feet Gifts and Flip-Flops Gifts pages.

Posted in family, Parenting, Travel Cases | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Talk Like a Pirate Day – And Party Like It, Too – Why Not?

Posted by Kyle Design on September 19, 2007

Pirate Flask in Custom ColorsSeptember 19th each year is International Talk Like A Pirate Day. This is a day when everyone can party like a pirate and pop off with phrases like “Ayyy, matey, share a cup of grog with a pirate, will ya?” It’s a chance to wear your pirate costume early and fine-tune it for Halloween.

Want a Pirate Flask to go with your costume? Check out our new Pirate Gifts and Decor collection. We even have Pink Pirate Flasks for the ladies. No self-respecting pirate should be partying without their favorite grog at their fingertips!

Talk Like a Pirate Day

John Baur and Mark Summers, a couple of guys who admit they are a little crazy, came up with the concept a few years back and ran with it. Their website has everything pirate. They have a list of top ten pick-up lines for guys and a top ten pick-up lines for ladies as well that are pretty funny. They have a pirate fun and games section. They even have a pirate translator!

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25th Anniversary of the Smiley Face Emoticon – Keystroke of Inspiration

Posted by Kyle Design on September 19, 2007

September 19th, 2007 is the 25th Anniversary of the Emoticon being used toSmiley Face Emoticon Earrings express feelings, humor and emotion in email or online. The first use was in a message to an online bulletin board that was sent at 11:44 a.m. on September 19, 1982 by Professor Scott Fahlman of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He used the keystrokes 🙂 to create the smiley face emoticon and suggested using it as a way to indicate that particular comments should be taken lightly. According to the Carnegie Mellon site, Fahlman wrote, “I propose the following character sequence for joke markers: :-). Read it sideways,” he added, helpfully.

It quickly spread from one computer network to another. This creative stroke of inspiration on the part of Professor Fahlman has snowballed into such an important part of online communication that many of us would feel lost without them.

Laptop Computer Business Card CaseTo mark the anniversary, Fahlman and his colleagues in the Computer Science Dept. are starting an annual “Smiley Award” for innovation in technology-assisted, human-to-human communication. The winning entry will receive $500 cash from Yahoo!, which is sponsoring it, but don’t get too excited. The competition is only open to individual students and small teams in Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science at this time.

If you’d like to mark this fun anniversary in your own way, check out our Emoticon Jewelry on our Cool Gifts for Computer Geeks and IT Professionals page. Other items include the Laptop Computer Business Card Case shown above that features a pie chart sun and a bar graph city surrounded by a binary code border pattern.

Posted in Business Card Cases, business card holders, Computers and Technology, Creativity, Innovation, Unique Gifts | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Barry Bonds’ Home Run Ball 756 Doesn’t Make Murphy a Millionaire

Posted by Kyle Design on September 16, 2007

Barry Bonds created a $752,467 ball when he broke Hank Aaron’s Home Run Record onBaseball Christmas Ornament in Custom Colors August 7, 2007 with home run Number 756. This history-making ball which was caught by New Yorker Matt Murphy at AT&T Park in San Francisco sold at auction last night (September 15, 2007). There were 31 bids. Experts had only expected the ball to sell for around $500,000. The auction was held by Sotheby’s.

The ball sold for nearly $1,000 per home run, falling just a few thousand short. The price includes a 20% buyer’s premium.

In addition, home run ball Number 755, which tied up the record, sold for $186,750 with 11 bids on it.

Are you a baseball fan? What baseball themed gifts in your team’s colors? Then check out our Custom Baseball Gifts and Decor. You get to pick your colors and metals on a huge range of cool gifts.

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Mountain Key Chain: Gift for Climbing Seven Summits

Posted by Kyle Design on September 12, 2007

Mountain Climber Key ChainI like to comment from time to time on custom gifts that are ordered and engraved. We recently had someone order our Mountain Key Chain with the following engraving:

In Honor of (Gift Recipient’s Name)
Climber of the Seven Summits,
4/1/2005 to 8/21/2007. 142,746 vert. feet.

The Seven Summits are the highest peaks on each of the 7 continents. Here is a List of the Seven Summits, with heights (feet and meters), the continents and countries they are in, and the mountain range they are part of.

Continent Mountain Height – Feet Height – Meters Country Range List
Africa Kilimanjaro 19,340 5,895 Tanzania Kilimanjaro Messner / Bass
Antarctica Vinson Massif 16,069 4,897 Chile (Claimed) Ellsworth Mountains Messner / Bass
Asia Everest 29,035 8,848 Nepal, China Himalaya Messner / Bass
Australia Kosciuszko 7,310 2,228 Austalia Great Dividing Range Bass
Australia-New Guinea Carstensz Pyramid (Puncak Jaya) 16,023 4,884 Indonesia Pegunungan Maoke Messner
Europe Elbrus 18,511 5,642 Russia Caucasus Messner / Bass
North America Mount McKinley (Denali) 20,230 6,194 United States Alaska Range Messner / Bass
South America Aconcagua 22,841 6,950 Argentina Andes Messner / Bass

So based on the total vertical feet, this woman climbed Kilimanjaro, Vinson, Everest, Carstensz Pyramid, Elbrus, Denali and Aconcagua. Congratulations to her for this amazing feat, especially as there are very few women who have climbed the Seven Summits – the vast majority are men. Here is a great list of everyone who has climbed the 7 Summits, although the last person on the list summited their seventh peak on January 1, 2007.

There are two lists of Seven Summits, based on whether you include Oceania as part of the Australian continent or not. Richard Bass created a list with Mount Kosciuszko, the tallest peak on the Australian mainland, and Reinhold Messner created his list by including Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia. As of March of 2007, only 198 people have climbed either the Bass or Messner lists of the top seven summits, so we here at Kyle Design are proud to have our Mountain Key Chain chosen as a gift for this particular woman.

As a side note, K2 is the second tallest mountain in the world, and Aconcagua is the second tallest of the 7 summits. Also note, Mont Blanc is the highest in Europe if you count the Caucasus in Russia as being part of Asia. As it can be difficult to get accurate readings at high altitudes, there may be some variations in the official heights listed in the table above based upon new readings.

Mountain Pill BoxIf you are looking for artistic gifts in an unusual theme, be sure to visit the Kyle Design website of custom gifts. We create very special presents in over 250 designs and 30 colors, plus offer custom engraving, so you can find the perfect gift.

Posted in Key Chains, Pill Boxes, Unique Gifts, women | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Fun Caveman Party with Cave Girl Costumes and Cave Cake

Posted by Kyle Design on September 11, 2007

My eldest daughter’s all-time favorite party was the Cave Girl Slumber Party we threw for her a couple of years back when she was nine (third grade). Based on the popularity of the Geico Caveman, I suspect Caveman Costumes will be big for Halloween this year.

Cave Woman or Caveman Pinata for Birthday PartiesCave Girl Piñata: I created a cave girl piñata from a hula girl piñata by using animal print tissue paper and clip art from the Microsoft Clip Art Gallery. I gave her more dramatic eyes and some bone jewelry.

Easy to Make Cave Woman CostumesCaveman or Cavewoman Costumes: I made costumes for each of the girls from animal print knit fabric that I got on sale at the fabric store. The dress just required a simple seam down a section of one side of folded fabric. (Click Cave Girl Costume for the specific measurements and directions.) The girls could just slip into them and tie a knot over one shoulder. Simple to make and one size fits all. I bought some bear claw and shark tooth necklaces from Oriental Trading to complement their costumes.

Cave Birthday Cake: This turned out really fun. The girls love discovering all the detailsCave Birthday Cake with Camp Fire in the decorations. It featured a chocolate cave with pretzel stick door frame, gumdrop glowing embers in the campfire, malt ball boulders and a roasting pig made from a strawberry Tootsie Roll that looked very realistic. It is kind of hard to see in this photo, but if you click Cave Birthday Cake, then click on the photo, you’ll get a large version.

Make-It-Yourself SpearsHomemade Spears: Each kid made their own spear out of polymer clay (Fimo or Sculpey) and a wooden dowel. First, they shaped an arrowhead with notches at the base where it would be tied, then pressed it against the end of the dowel to create a recess in the clay that would help hold it in place. While the clay was baking, the kids decorated the dowels with stripes, dots, symbols or their names using a wood burning tool. After the spear tips had finished baking and had cooled, the kids tied the tip onto their spear with twine. They added extra twine in the middle to create a grip. We then had a spear throwing contest at the park (any grassy area will do). My husband painted a deer petroglyph on a piece of plywood that they could aim at for a target. One girl actually did hit the deer target, but needless to say, these were not precise implements, so if they did get a hit, it was probably just luck.

Games and Activities: The kids all roasted marshmallows over a small patio fireplace in our backyard. We also had a slingshot contest using one slingshot that we purchased beforehand, but you could also have the kids make their own (depending upon their age) if you have suitable forked wood, a bit of leather and large rubber bands. (I made my own slingshot as a kid.) I also had a treasure hunt for breakfast using clip art of wild animals. Each clue would be for the next animal that they would have to hunt down around the house and yard. Tape up the larger clues of animals and cavemen with the next clue hidden behind each one. Spread them out so they have to run a bit far to the next one: upstairs and downstairs, front yard and backyard. This helps burn off some of their energy and builds their appetite, too. Our hidden breakfast was bagels. Find a closet, kitchen cabinet or even the dryer as a place to hide them where they are not likely to go snooping ahead of time.

Food: We had the girls make DIY shish-kebabs using bamboo skewers. I just laid out a whole collection of meats and vegetables (and pineapple) and let then assemble the kabobs to their liking. (I marinated the meats ahead of time.) Results ranged from all meat to all veggies, so I’m glad I didn’t attempt to guess what they would like. You can BBQ them or just broil them in the oven. (If you think there might be any confusion about whose kebab is whose, just have the kids put their name or initials on the skewer with a permanent marker first.)

Cave Drawing Light Switch PlatesCave Man Party Decorations: How we turned our kitchen into a cave: We covered the walls with brown Kraft paper that weCaveman Party Decorations with Animal Furs, Cave Walls, and Cave Girl Pinata then decorated with “cracks” and shadows using magic markers. (We even covered up the window, adding to the dark cave-like feeling in the room.) I added clip art and photos of wild animals – tigers, deer, lions, buffalo, bears, etc. I bought animal fur fabric in different prints and styles and tossed them on the ground like giant animal skins where they would be sleeping.

Party Favors: The girls got to take home their costumes, spears and necklaces. In addition, each girl was given a plain wooden box (available at crafts supply stores) to decorate with the wood burning tool. We had one larger box as a party keepsake for my daughter onto which each of the party guests burned their name and patterns. She has it to this day.

Note: If you’d like to see larger versions (6″) of any of the photos here, just click on Caveman Party and then click on the photos there to enlarge.

Click this link if you’d like to add rustic decorations like ourTiger Flask for Liquor, Alcohol or Wine Cave Drawing Light Switch Plates shown at left. Of if you’d like an animal flask to go with your Caveman costume, be sure to check out our Tiger Flask.

Posted in Animals, Birthday, Cakes, Cooking, Costumes, Decorating Ideas, Party Ideas | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Last Minute Gift Pattern Additions at Kyle Design

Posted by Kyle Design on September 10, 2007

Last Minute Gift Designs and IdeasOn Friday, I added another group of new designs to the site. Just last month, I had added 65 new patterns in this year’s big push of images, but then decided to create a few more last Apple Ornament for Back to School or Teacher Gifts minute gift designs. Why? A few reasons: There were some emails that came in for ideas just after I completed my tooling. Also, with Back To School on my mind, I realized I was missing designs for school. I have an Apple design that is popular for teachers, but I wanted something for higher education, hence my new Education design, as well as an image for the lower elementary or preschool set: my new ABC Blocks pattern.

While thinking about the kids and school, I thought a Candy & Treats design would be fun, so I created one that includes an ice cream cone, lollipop, candy cane, gummy bear, gumdrops, candy bar, Tootsie roll and hard candies. While talking to my sister about my niece’s upcoming 5th birthday, I realized that a Birthday Cake would be fun, too.

Now, not wanting to be too heavy on sweets, I thought some fruit and vegetable designs would help balance out my design diet. So I have a fresh new Pineapple design. The pineapple is also the symbol of hospitality and so will be a nice addition to our Host and Hostess gifts collection. And as for healthy foods, my new Vegetables pattern contains a cabbage, tomato, red pepper, chili pepper, radish, mushroom, corn, carrot and peas – a cacophony of veggies high in beta carotene, antioxidants and lycopene.

Desktop Shoes Business Card HoldersIt was fashion week in San Francisco a couple of weeks back, with local designers showing off their new collections of clothes and accessories. My new Handbag design would have fit right in with the theme. (Handbags and purses have traditionally been popular images, so it was time to finally create on of my own, plus it is a nice compliment to my Shoes pattern, like the one shown here on our desktop business card holder.) The new Flash design can represent all those cameras going off taking pictures of all those runway models. Or maybe it is a star twinkling, or the sun shining or fireworks lighting up the sky. That’s the beauty of abstract designs: you can add a little of your own imagination and make it whatever you want.

It never rains in California (or so the song claims), but I’ve seen it happen on occasion and have a new Rain design. It features a slightly abstract repeating pattern with a hint of clouds at top and the suggestion of a stream at the bottom. In addition, I decided to do an Anchor design as well, to round out my Nautical themed gift pages.

Tiger Bookmark for BooksThe Tiger design was quietly introduced over the summer, but this is the formal announcement of its arrival. I already have several gifts shown on the Tiger Gifts page, like the Tiger Bookmark shown at left.

If you’d like to see other options for gifts for teachers, professors or other educators like the Apple Christmas ornament above, please visit our Teacher and Educator Gifts page.

Like I mentioned, all these new designs were added to our site on Friday, so please check them out!

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