Color Style Kyle

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

Archive for January, 2008

Coffee and Miscarriage: Kaiser Study Advises Against Caffeine

Posted by Kyle Design on January 27, 2008

Coffee Light Switchplates in Black, Nickel and Bronze Aluminum AccentsAfter years of speculation about the negative effects of coffee, or specifically caffeine intake, during pregnancy, reports came out this week that it does in fact raise your risk of miscarriage. Kaiser Permanente of Oakland, CA, released a study that looked at the connection between caffeine and miscarriages.

Those who get 200 mg of caffeine a day (which you can get by drinking about 1-1/2 cups of coffee) are two times more likely to have a miscarriage than those who drink less than that or who consume no caffeinated beverages at all. Family Design Beaded ID Badge Lanyard in Gold and BlackGetting 200 mg of caffeine from all sources seemed to have the most effect after between weeks eight and sixteen of a pregnancy. (The study didn’t look into the effects beyond 20 weeks, though.) So if you’re trying to have a baby, Kaiser advises limiting your caffeine intake, or better yet not drinking those caffeinated beverages – coffee, tea, soda, hot cocoa, etc. – at all.

Apparently, getting 200 mg a day of caffeine is not that hard. Studies done in the 1990’s indicate that 87% of U.S. adults U.S. and 76% of children consume caffeinated food and beverages on a daily basis, with the average intake for caffeine consumers being 193 mg of caffeine a day. Major sources are coffee, sodas and tea (in that order), but other sources include chocolate, energy drinks, herbal supplements and medications (like Excedrin).

Stylish New Baby Night Light in Stained GlassNow that the link between caffeine and miscarriage has been established by the Kaiser report, I can feel good about my decision a dozen years ago to stop drinking caffeinated beverages. Based on general concerns at the time about caffeine (even though there was a lack of conclusive proof), I stopped drinking caffeinated beverages when I decided to start a family, and I have never gone back to drinking them. I’m glad my sacrifices (at the time – coming off caffeine gave me terrible headaches) were not in vain.

Mind you, I still drink decaffeinated tea on a daily basis, and decaffeinated coffee on occasion, and do enjoy a chocolate treat from time to time, but I have to get out of bed in the mornings knowing that there will be no jolt waiting for me at breakfast.

So I go to bed early. Works for me! I’m used to it now. Also, being self-employed, all I have to do is just start thinking about everything I need to do each day and the adrenaline just surges through my veins and I’m good to go.

But if you’re a coffee lover, you may want to check out my cool Coffee Drinker Gifts, like the Coffee Switchplate Cover above. For anyone who loves their family and wants the world to know it, I design unusual Family Themed Gifts and Decor, too. And if you’re looking for fresh Baby Shower Gift Ideas or something special for a new mom or dad, please check out my collection.

Posted in family, Health and Wellness, Unique Gifts, women | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

It’s Official: Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa Identified (Finally)

Posted by Kyle Design on January 24, 2008

Faces Indentification Badge HolderAs long as we are on the topic of women and art, we now can assume that the Mona Lisa’s smile reflects amusement that it has taken 500 years to figure out her identity.

The woman in Leonardo da Vinci‘s Mona Lisa has been identified as Lisa del Giocondo who was the wife of Florentine businessman Francesco del Giocondo. The portrait was being painted in fall of 1503. Confirmation came as the result of a discovery in a Heidelberg University (Germany) manuscript. Notes were found in the margins of a book owned by a friend of Leonardo describing that da Vinci was working on a portrait of her.

Artist Business Card Holder in Gold and Purple with Paintbrush, Easel and PalatteEven though the painting, Portrait of Mona Lisa or La Joconde, is also known as La Gioconda in Italian, there was still enough speculation about other possible models or whether the image is just Leonardo’s “ideal” woman, that positive identification was never possible until now. The painting hangs at the Louvre Museum in Paris if you wish to see it.

Agostino Vespucci, who was a friend of Leonardo’s, had written in the margins of a book by philosopher Cicero that da Vinci was working on a portrait of del Giocondo, and he even dated his notes as being made in October of 1503. And this was actually discovered two years ago but not widely known until a German radio station aired a report about in last week! Why did it take so long to even report it?? Apparently, the mystery surrounding the Mona Lisa continues….

Want to see more of my unique gifts such as the cool identification badge holder with faces or the gold business card case with an artist theme? Please check out Cool Gift Ideas with Faces or Unusual Artist Gifts.

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Marie Antoinette Show at San Francisco Legion of Arts

Posted by Kyle Design on January 14, 2008

Fleur De Lis Holiday Ornament in Custom ColorsMy girls and I visited the Legion of Honor in San Francisco yesterday to take in the Marie-Antoinette and the Petit Trianon at Versailles show running now through February 17, 2008. The show hoped to clear up some of the mysteries and misconceptions surrounding this infamous Queen of France. It certainly was a very interesting, although not spectacular, collection of paintings, furniture and drawings from her private retreat. The girls enjoyed the show, and I think it is important to continually expose them to art of different periods, even though our tastes tend to run toward the contemporary.

Woman artist and painter Vigée Le Brun painted at least 30 portraits of Marie-Antoinette, and my eldest daughter noticed that at least two in the show (and 6 of the 30 I’ve since discovered) were of the exact same pose, of her with a bent arm holding up a rose, with just a different outfit. (The early days of production work?)

Artist Design Flask with Painter's Easel, Palette and PaintbrushesMarie Antoinette, who apparently was a bit prudish, had large paintings that featured nudity replaced by paintings of her choice: scenes from her happy childhood with her many siblings (she was the youngest of 15). Although with one painting, named “Fishing” which might have been by Francois Boucher(?), I wondered if it was partly because of the grotesque Mermaid-like creatures with their deformed squiggly tails like underdeveloped fish writhing in the water or floating in the air. Yuck! These are not the smooth, shimmery green tails found on Mermaids in Disney movies.

And these paintings are huge! Enough to give anyone nightmares, if you ask me. She was only 14 in 1770 when she was married off to the future King Louis XVI, sight unseen, leaving behind her large family in Austria in the move to France. (He actually didn’t become King until 1774.)

Chair Pill Holder in Silver and Iridescent RustThere was one little four-poster bed, “The Bed from the King’s Bedroom”, with matching chairs, in crimson and white silk that my youngest thought she might still fit, but for me as a grown woman thought that, at best, I could sit up in it. They must have all been very short, or they all just slept (uncomfortably?) as balls, perhaps having nightmares.

There were a couple of fine examples of marquetry, in particular a dressing table by Jean-Henri Riesener made of satinwood, kingwood and gilt bronze that masterfully gave the impression of a raised pattern of diamonds.

Decorative Cake Business Card HolderSo, did Marie Antoinette ever say, “Let them eat cake!“? Or more fully, “If they have no bread, let them eat cake!” Most likely, no. The saying had actually been around for 100 years before her time. She was at the wrong place and the wrong time; she alienated the French court with her unconventional actions, she became a pawn of others and suffered unfavorable public opinion during and after the French Revolution that eventually lead to her death by guillotine at the age of 37 in 1793.

Click photos above or following links to see more of my Fleur De Lis, Artist, Chair or Cake Design collections.

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S.F. Zoo Now Says: Leopards and Tigers and Bears! Oh My!

Posted by Kyle Design on January 13, 2008

Tiger Measuring TapesThe San Francisco Zoo is now admitting that, in addition to the Christmas Day Tiger escape and mauling death, that both a polar bear and a snow leopard have also nearly escaped their enclosures since the attack. (Snow) Leopards and (Siberian) Tigers and (Polar) Bears! Oh My! What’s next??! I’m going into San Francisco tomorrow, but I will not be visiting the zoo….

Polar Bear Mother and Cub Pill HoldersI wondered when I read last week that they suddenly raised the height around the polar bear exhibit. Turns out that on January 3rd, a female polar bear almost escaped after nearly scaling the wall around her enclosure. Perhaps the S.F. zoo personnel could use a pocket Tiger Measuring Tape so they can check the other exhibits.

Leopard Spots Nickel Silver and Black SwitchplatesThen on Thursday, January 10th, a snow leopard chewed its way out of a temporary enclosure. Have these near misses been ongoing or do the animals suddenly have a taste for freedom following the escape of their comrade Tatiana who was able to cross The Wall?

Lion Christmas OrnamentThe last time I was at the zoo, the lion was roaring in such a loud, aggressive way that it was unnerving, actually frightening, even when I was thinking there was no way it could escape. Now knowing that that is not such a definite just makes me shudder. The Big Cats are so large and powerful that they really give me pause about where we fall in the hierarchy of animals.

If you’d like to see more of my unique gifts such as the Tiger Tape Measure, the Polar Bear Pill Holder or the Leopard Spots Black Switchplates, please visit Unique Tiger Gifts, Cool Polar Bear Gifts, Artistic Lion Gifts or Unusual Leopard Gift Ideas.

Posted in Animals, Cats, Unique Gifts | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Happy Islamic New Year 2008 – The First One :-)

Posted by Kyle Design on January 9, 2008

Islamic Holiday OrnamentThe Islamic New Year begins at sunset on January 9th in 2008 and lasts for 29 days, ending at sunset on February 5th. Happy New Year to all Muslims!

In fact, Muslims will be celebrating two Islamic New Years in 2008! The next one actually starts in late December this year, at sunset on December 28th. Why? The Islamic calendar is lunar based as opposed to the Gregorian calendar which is solar based. Islamic Business Card Holder

For this reason, the Islamic New Year, known as Al Hijra or Muharram, moves by approximately 11 days each year on the Gregorian calendar, although the date is always the same on the lunar calendar. The date (on the Gregorian calendar) also moves depending upon when the moon first appears in a particular country, so the date may be (and often is) different for those in other parts of the world.

Please visit Unique Muslim Gifts and Islamic Decor for more unusual gift ideas such as the Islamic Holiday Ornament or the Star and Crescent Business Card Holder above (click photos to learn more). We can even engrave the items with dates, names, quotes, monograms and more.

Posted in Functional Art, Holidays, Unique Gifts | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Polar Bears Must Wait – U.S. Delays Endangered Species Ruling

Posted by Kyle Design on January 8, 2008

Polar Bear Mother and Cub Christmas OrnamentThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Monday that it will miss Wednesday’s deadline on whether to list polar bears as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The posting on their web site’s homepage indicates that they intend to make a decision within the next month, despite a legal deadline to make a decision within one year of when they first proposed considering the polar bear as a threatened species.

Polar Bears Wooden Ring BoxThey further stated they needed more time to review comments on the U.S. Geological Study that came out in September. That study stated that they expected the world polar bear population to decline by two-thirds by 2050 and that there would be no polar bears left in the U.S.

Those poor polar bears just can’t get a break. Earlier this week it was announced that a first-time oil lease sale would be allowed to go through February 6th in polar bear territories in the Chukchi Sea in Alaska.

Please visit Unique Polar Bear Gifts if you’d like to see more of my gifts with polar bears.

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What Was Hot for Holiday 2007? Some Surprises…

Posted by Kyle Design on January 6, 2008

As an artist who LOVES designing, I’m constantly adding new patterns to my line, hoping to provide unique gifts in designs featuring the latest trends and popular activities. So what turned out to be big for Holiday 2007?Ballroom Dancers Christmas Ornaments

Ballroom Dancing: I knew Dancing With the Stars was big, but not THIS big. Especially popular were the Ballroom Dance Ornaments. I enjoyed engraving many loving, sentimental comments on the back of these. It seems that those ballroom dancers are a particularly romantic group!

Monkey Business Card CarriersMonkeys: OK, I didn’t even think about it, but “Monkey Business” Card Holders were a funny surprise, but that’s how it is for – so often customers will order a particular design on a certain item – and I will finally get it. This was one of those cases. I think many people had a good laugh when they opened their presents. All work and no play makes Jack (or Jill) a dull boy (or girl). Might as well have fun when you can and enjoy your work.German Silver Knitting Earrings for Knitters I know I do!!

Knitting: I knew about knitting, and my daughter even demonstrates how to finger knit on our site, and I thought I was ready, but we still ran out of the Knitting Earrings and Knitting Flasks. I suspect that all those knitters out there making handy flask carrying cases as a fun design project. Anyone have a pattern for one?

Fleur De Lis Holder for Postage StampsFleur De Lis: The biggest hit of the season was my new Fleur De Lis gifts collection, with the Fleur De Lys Stamp Holder being the most popular item although the flasks, ID badge holders and ornaments were also very popular. BTW, I have a small pair of Fleur De Lis earrings that I’ll be adding to the site sometime next week. Did you know that this traditional image is actually a stylized iris flower? I found that out when I was researching the design before I created my interpretation shown at left. Click the gift collection link above if you’re interested in a brief history of the design and its meaning.

Those were some of the highlights of the season. I will discuss some lesser trends in future posts as well. It is always satisfying to me to know I guessed right!

Posted in Business Card Cases, Christmas Ornaments, Hobbies, Unique Gifts | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Happy New Year from Kyle Design – Yes, I’m Back

Posted by Kyle Design on January 3, 2008

Earth Business Card Holder CaseOK, so it seemed that I had dropped off the face of the earth for 6 weeks, and now I have miraculously returned. So what happened?

The Holidays!! If you are in the gift business, the floodgates open around mid November with sales surging, your hours greatly extending (even for workaholic like me) and there literally isn’t time for anything except making sure you ship your orders on time and complete. We had an especially long season this year because Thanksgiving fell early in the month and Christmas fell on a Tuesday, so those last minute presents could still arrive on Monday and be there on time.

Christmas Tree Pill HolderWe had a very busy holiday season and I want to thank all of our wonderful customers who called and sent so many enthusiastic compliments of our work and our customer service. Such feedback really gives us an emotional boost that helps us get through those long, frantic days.

I also want to acknowledge my fantastic staff who worked very long hours and did their best to accommodate special requests, assist customers with placing their orders online, and accurately make and ship so many custom items (most everything is made to order in our studio). We are, in fact, having a debriefing meeting today to go over what worked and what didn’t, and to review what new items, designs or services customers were requesting so we can hopefully continue to improve and stay fresh.) Suggestions are always appreciated!!!)

So, Happy New Year to you all! I hope the new year brings happy thoughts and positive experiences to everyone.

Posted in Artistic Gifts, Business, Gifts, Holidays, small business | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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