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Archive for July, 2008

xx = xy: Girls Equal Boys in Math Skills

Posted by Kyle Design on July 25, 2008

Girl Power Vitamin Case - Keeping Women Strong (in Math) and Healthy

Girl Power Vitamin Case - Keeping Women Strong (in Math) and Healthy

As a woman (xx) who was good in math and as the mother of two girls (2xx) who are good in math, I was thrilled to see the results of a study that found no difference in scores on math tests between the boys and girls. Mathematics is a critical skill that should be encouraged and presented in a positive way. No more setting lower expectations. No more teen Barbie dolls proclaiming “Math class is tough.” I believe girls and women will do well if told they will do well. Set the bar high.

Mathematics Tape Measure - Perfect for Measuring the Differences Between the Math Skills of Girls and Boys

Mathematics Tape Measure - Perfect for Measuring the Differences Between the Math Skills of Girls and Boys

In a study published today in the journal Science, by Janet S. Hyde, Sara M. Lindberg, Marcia C. Linn, Amy B. Ellis and Caroline C. Williams, finds that there are no gender differences between the sexes in performance on math tests. The researchers reviewed results of math tests taken in 2005, 2006 and 2007 from almost 7 million students in 10 states. One of the study’s authors, Marcia C. Linn, is professor of development and cognition specializing in education in mathematics, science, and technology in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley. The fact that she is a professor at my alma mater only increased my sense of delight. Go Bears!

My favorite class in high school was geometry (not art as one might expect of a professional artist!), but which is a type of math that has a strong visual element to it. I loved it! I think math is fun and that is always the attitude I take with my girls.

Celebrate Being Number One with an Engraved Christmas Ornament

Celebrate Being Number One with an Engraved Christmas Ornament

My math-major husband (xy) has always encouraged our daughters in math as well, finding every opportunity to find a math angle to discuss about a subject. He and our eldest daughter participated this last year in MATHCOUNTS, an after school program that encourages enthusiasm for math and attempts to enhance achievement in middle school mathematics throughout the United States. Our eldest daughter’s team won first place in the 6th Grade Livermore city MATHCOUNTS competition. You go, girl!!

In the spoof of former Harvard president Lawrence H. Summer’s remarks about the differences between men and women, Principal Skinner of The Simpsons, struggles with his words at an assembly: “No, no, no! It’s the differences…of which there are none, that make the sameness…exceptional! [desperately] Just tell me what to say!”

Girl Equal Boys. At last, we have statistical proof!

If you’re looking for a way to celebrate a math achievement or to reward girls for their accomplishments, please click on any of the photos above or check out the Kyle Design Math Gifts, Gifts for Women, Number One Awards and Christmas Ornament collections.

 

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Posted in Artistic Gifts, kids, Parenting, Schools | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Discount Light Switch Plates – Cheap Way to Cover Contractor Mistakes

Posted by Kyle Design on July 21, 2008

Cheap White Switch Plates When Minor Imperfections Dont Matter

Cheap White Switch Plates When Minor Imperfections Don't Matter

An ongoing issue for us at Kyle Design is what to do with our slightly imperfect light switch plates and electrical outlet covers. We offer a 15% discount on our regular switchplates, but wanted to offer better pricing on our irregulars. This week we started offering these perfectly usable switchplates on sale. Right now they are available in affordable boxes of 50 plates in mixed sizes, although we are open to requests for sizes if we have them.

Here at the studio we are very picky and reject cover plates if they have noticeable marks. They still meet code and look attractive but generally have some minor scratches, dents or defects in the paint. Sizes may include toggle, outlet, Decora rocker, oversized, cable, blank, jumbo, multiple gang, phone or combination sizes.

On Sale Black Switchplates - Perfect For DIY Crafts Projects

On Sale Black Switchplates - Perfect For DIY Crafts Projects

My staff and I have periodic discussions about the best way to dispose of these plates. Do we throw them away? Recycle them? Sell them by size? Sell them by color? Now, I did not want to spend hours and hours cataloging each plate, photographing it, processing the image for the web and creating a product to put on our site. WAY too time-consuming for something inexpensive that I’m trying to sell cheaply.

Even recycling the switchplate covers seemed wasteful because the blemishes are often very hard to see, or nearly impossible from a distance. The more we thought about it, the more we realized that there are many people who could use plates like these:

Inexpensive Switch Plates for Building Contractors: These discount wall plates are great to have on hand for contractor mistakes: cover emergency “situations” or finish large projects on time. It is quite common for a job to change, for an installation problem to come up or for an error to be made where a different size switch plate is then needed.

Discount Ivory Light Switch Plates Make Redecorating Affordable

Discount Ivory Light Switch Plates Make Redecorating Affordable

Having a variety of sizes on hand make it easy to switch out a wall panel, hide a contractor mistake or cover a box opening that was cut too large, or be able to quickly get all the electrical boxes covered before inspection. This is a very common situation – a customer changes their mind, a beam is in the way, built-up paint around a current plate chips when removed – the list goes on. We hear about all of them here at Kyle Design, and we can help. We’ve made it our business to stock those difficult to find plates, and hard-to-find inserts to adapt the plates for different needs.

Even better, this might be a great way to request a discount odd-sized switch plate cover and get a lot of other usable sizes at the same time. For example, if you need a simple 7 gang toggle switch plate you can request that we include one in the box and ask us to contact you if such plate is not available. The price may be comparable to the single plate alone. This is a really good deal! Just contact us if you have any questions.

Cheap DIY Crafts Projects: These are exactly the types of switch plates that work well for do-it-yourself crafts projects. Sometimes, it is easier and cheaper to practice new techniques or styles on a bargain item. Learn how to work with your materials, practice embellishing plates with jewels, stones, paints, ribbons, etc. to get your look down. And if your technique can cover up those slight defects, then all the better. No need to spend a fortune just to hide it anyway!

Wallpaper Covered Light Switch Plates are Easy to Make

Wallpaper Covered Light Switch Plates are Easy to Make

Affordable Home Decorating with Matching Switch Plate Covers: Perhaps you’d like your light cover plates to match the wallpaper or paint on your walls. These plates work great for covering with wallpaper. I even show you fast, no-mess, step-by-step instructions on how to easily upholster switch plates with wall paper or other decorative papers here: Quick Instructions: How To Cover Light Switch Plates With Fabric or Wallpaper.

Easy Online Shopping at Kyle Design: So right now, we are offering these discounted switchplates in three finishes: White Discount Switch Plates, Black Discount Switch Plates and Ivory Discount Switchplates. Better yet, we offer inexpensive flat rate ground shipping, so we will ship you the whole box of wall cover plates for a great price. We don’t nickel and dime you with surprise “handling” costs or outrageous per item shipping costs showing up in your cart. You can see exactly what you are paying when you put an item in your shopping cart. No need to fill out all your billing and shipping information to find out what the total cost will be, either. (The only exception is air freight shipping. If you decide you must receive your order immediately and select Next Day, 2nd Day or 3 Day air shipping, we will weigh your box and send you an updated order confirmation with the actual costs reflected on it – that way you can decide just how urgently you need those coverplates.)

These light switch cover plates are available on a first come, first served basis while supplies last (although we are finding more every day), so if you are needing a specific hard-to-find-size, it is probably best to contact us sooner rather than later for best selection.

Mission Period Decorative Light Switch Plates and Outlet Covers in Most Sizes

Mission Period Decorative Light Switch Plates and Outlet Covers in Most Sizes

Now, we still have our beautiful, first quality light switch plates and outlet covers in 15 different metal finishes and more than 130 sizes in some finishes (White, Satin Stainless Steel) so you can find just the right wallplate for any project you are working on, plus we have creative solutions for the extremely odd plate configuration or phone/cable/internet communication setup you may be installing.

Plus, we have a collection of very popular designer switchplates in styles such as Art Deco, Greene and Greene style Mission Period, Cats, Dogs, Celtic Knots, Butterflies, Bubbles, Flowers, Vine Patterns, Modern Milano – in other words, original designs that range from antique to contemporary. Our wall cover plates are available in more than 50 decorative sizes and come with matching screws as well. Check us out at Kyle Design!

Posted in Decorating Ideas, Home Decor, Sale Items, Switch Plates, switchplates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Wild Monkey Party Is A Barrel of Fun with Unusual Games

Posted by Kyle Design on July 20, 2008

Kevin Keith Shows Off Friendly Baboon

Kevin Keith Shows Off Friendly Baboon

We helped friends plan games for a really great Monkey Party that was held recently for a 9-year-old girl. There were about 50 kids at the party – wild fun!

Live Monkey Performance: There was a presentation with live Baboons and birds which was GREAT! Check out Martina and Kevin Keith and their Monkey Business Productions based in Napa Valley, CA. Call them 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 fun!

Preening Contest

Fun Monkey Party Activity: Preening Contest

Monkey Preening Competition: This quirky party game idea was a hit with the kids. Buy brown fake fur yardage that has a pile about 2″-3″ long – the long length makes it more challenging to preen. Each team should have a piece of monkey fur about a 3′ to 4′ feet long and around 45″ wide, or at least enough to cover a card table or area that a group of kids can stand around. Throw a generous handful of rice on it and set a small paper bag or dish in the middle for collecting the ‘bugs’. Whichever team does the best job of preening and collects the most wins! Use a postal scale to determine the winner if you have a close competition – wasn’t necessary at this party, but just in case.

Kids Loved Climbing Ropes to Grab Bananas

Kids Loved Climbing Ropes to Grab Bananas

Vine Climbing Race: Hang 1″ thick ropes from an arbor or garage door frame. Tie knots in them about 2′ apart down the length of the rope. Create paper bananas out of yellow paper and staple them to a piece of yarn in a loose bunch, tying these at the top of the rope. Timed race to last 3 minutes. Line up teams of kids behind each rope. Kids have to climb up the rope, grab a banana, climb back down and put it in a basket. Team with the most bananas at the end of 3 minutes wins.

Monkey Light Switch Plates Add Some Fun To Any Room

Monkey Light Switch Plates Add Some Fun To Any Room

Monkey Decorations: There were lots of inflatable monkeys in all sizes that were hung everywhere. Large paper doll monkeys were cut out of red wrapping paper then decorated. Start by accordion-folding the wrapping paper about 3′ wide. Cut out shape of monkey like in the photo here. Add construction paper eyes and mouth to each one. Tape across banisters, railings, windows or walls. Or you could decorate with Monkey Light Switchplates like the one here.

Instructions for Homemade Monkey Cake - Your Kids Will Thank You

Instructions for Homemade Monkey Cake - Your Kids Will Thank You

Although our friends actually served a store-bought cake with plastic monkeys stuck on it at the party, I decided to create my own monkey cake later. Click here for the instructions on how to make the Monkey Cake shown at left – your kids will appreciate a homemade cake and you can all have fun making it together.

For more ideas for games and decorations, plus more photos of the baboon or to enlarge the ones here, please visit Fun Monkey Party.

Cute Monkey Vitamin Cases Make Taking Your Daily Supplement Fun!

Cute Monkey Vitamin Cases Make Taking Your Daily Supplement Fun!

I started making monkey themed gifts about a year ago when I wanted to fill out my selection of Chinese Calendar animals, and it turns out they are quite the popular animal! The Year of the Monkey was in 2004 (coming up again in 2016), so if figured there may be some little monkeys out there having birthday parties now.

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

Mamma Mia! This Mama Loved The Movie!

Posted by Kyle Design on July 19, 2008

Dancing Queen Vitamin Case - Keep Your Energy Up!

Dancing Queen Vitamin Case So You Can Keep Your Energy Up

I went to see the new movie Mamma Mia! starring Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgård, and Colin Firth, and based on the songs of pop band ABBA, and absolutely loved it! I went with a big group of friends, many of whom are in my book group, and we all just had a blast. It is the story of a 20-year-old girl (played by Amanda Seyfried), her mother (plus two friends – Julie Walters and Christine Baranski – who make up the dancing queens) and the three men who could potentially be girl’s father.

Queen for a Day Christmas Ornament

Queen for a Day Christmas Ornament

I have never seem the stage version, so was not disappointed by some preconceived idea of what it should be like (as I’ve read some people have been). I’d heard that it is a great movie for mothers and daughters to see together, but I’d also just recommend going with friends and letting loose, singing along and swaying to the music. Why not? You can never go back again, except in the movies and your dreams. The songs on the soundtrack are great: Mamma Mia, Dancing Queen, Honey Honey, The Winner Takes It All, Money Money, The Name of the Game and Our Last Summer among other classics.

It was set in Greece which was absolutely stunning, but fortunately they didn’t focus on the sweeping vistas and picturesque villages too long, otherwise I suspect our attentions could have drifted off to our vacations plans for next summer. The scenery just enhanced the emotional getaway, drawing us in, making us long for the chance for something as fun and exciting as what was happening on the screen. You just can’t stay grumpy watching this one. You just know the actors had a blast making this one – you could see it on their faces.

Gorgeous Sunset Bookmark -Mark Your Place in That Summer Romance Book

Gorgeous Sunset Bookmark -Mark Your Place in That Summer Romance Book

I traveled to Greece when I was in my twenties, but alas, no passionate trysts were part of the travel plans. I would love to go back and take my family someday. Loved that trip, stunned by the beauty and the history of Greece. Had a fabulous time except for the really grumpy Greeks who seemed completely fed-up with tourists swarming through their lives on a daily basis. (Don’t know as I can blame them.) Maybe they should go see this movie…

Maybe the casting in the film was a little weird, with 48-year-old Colin Firth in the role as one of the past young love interests of 59-year-old Meryl Streep (along with 55-year-old Pierce Brosnan and 57-year-old Stellan Skarsgård, which were more believable.) Even with any plastic surgery the actors or actresses may or may not have had, they still look their age, so the idea of the young summer of love affair being had by those approaching a nice middle age of 40 was a bit odd.

Sadly, Pierce Brosnan does not have the best voice for singing, but it was passable, and believable, for an average man expressing his emotions through song. Keeping it real. Besides, he gets a free pass because he still looks good.

Mathematical Money Clip for Holding All Your Money, Money

Mathematical Money Clip for Holding All Your Money, Money

All mathematical issues aside, it was still a perfect feel-good movie that would put anyone in a happy mood. I have not laughed that much in a long time and plan to take my girls to see it, too. I highly recommend it.

Movie Projector Night Light for Those Who Enjoy Watching a Great Film

Movie Projector Night Light for Those Who Enjoy Watching a Great Film

As an aside, you just know the costumes in this film are going to me huge for Halloween this year. Plan now to get all your over-the-top accessories and sparkly fabric ready!

If you’re looking for some fun gifts for your dancing queens, be sure to check out Kyle Design’s Dancing Gifts and Queen Gifts, where you can find gifts like the Vitamin Case, Christmas Ornament, Bookmark, Night Light and Money Clips shown. We have Mathematical Gifts, too, should any of those casting agents need to brush up on on their skills.

Posted in Costumes, family, Friends, Movies, Music | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

My Favorite Homemade Cherry Peach Rum Ice Cream Recipe

Posted by Kyle Design on July 14, 2008

Ice Cream and Sweet Treats ID Badge Holders add some fun when you have to wear a name badge.

Ice Cream and Sweet Treats ID Badge Holders add some fun when you have to wear a name badge!

Ice cream, it turns out, is still a very, very popular treat with Americans, especially kids. According to research by Mintel International as reported in the news, 91% of adults and 98% of kids ate ice cream in the last year. But apparently the frozen dessert market is actually stagnant: there was only a 1.8% increase in inflation-adjusted sales for 2006 and 2007, and there is only a 0.5% increase projected for 2008 and 2009. Hmmm. Hey America, time to get out of a rut with a new old-fashioned ice cream flavor?

Fresh Cherries Light Switch Plates add a dash of color and fun to kitchen or dining room.

Fresh Cherries Light Switch Plates add a dash of color and fun to kitchen or dining room.

I grew up with homemade ice cream. Our family favorite was Cherry Peach Rum Ice Cream (see recipe below) that we would prepare at our mountain cabin that my dad was building. We had no electricity and so would make it in an old-fashioned, hand-crank ice cream maker.

Mom would whip up the mixture in the kitchen using fresh peaches and pour it into the canister. All of us kids would take turns sitting on it to help hold it down for an adult or strong teenager to crank. We always made it at family reunions and parties. It was a activity that involved the whole family and was so much fun. (It is a great activity for any family to try!)

Mountain Night Light Lets You Dream of Fun Summer Vacations

Mountain Night Light Lets You Dream of Fun Summer Vacations

The hand-cranking men (usually) would compete to see whole could last the longest, the kids would get switched out for slightly older, heavier ones when the stiffening ice cream caused the maker to start jumping around too much. Mom would start setting out spoons and bowls for everyone as we all salivated and worked up a sweat.

And the result was just the taste of summer to me. Mixing up a batch nowadays takes me right back to those warm, wonderful, lazy (for the kids, at least – my school teacher dad was busy 12 hours a day building the cabin) summer days in the middle of nowhere where the only noise was the sound of wind moving through tree branches, and the hammer pounding nails….

And it just seems that when you have to work for something, it is that much sweeter when you get it.

Cabin Favorite Cherry Peach Rum Ice Cream Recipe

2 c. half & half
1 c. milk
3 eggs
Dash of salt
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. sugar
1 T. rum
1 ripe peach, chopped fine
5 cherries, (fresh or Marischino) chopped fine

In a cold saucepan, beat and mix together the eggs, vanilla, salt and sugar until thick. Then pour the half & half and milk into the mixture of eggs and sugar while stirring. Turn on burner and heat gently, stirring until the mixture thickens. (Do not allow the mixture to boil or it will curdle.) Remove the pan from the heat when a film forms over the back of your spoon. Allow to cool. Stir in chopped peaches, cherries and rum. Transfer to canister and begin freezing in ice cream maker.

The time really got away from me writing this post – guess I just drifted off into happy thoughts of my childhood and the minutes just melted away…. Time to get back to work!

Ice Cream, Homemade Ice Cream Recipes, Vacations, Peaches, Cherries, Rum, Family, Kids, Switch Plates, Switchplates, Black Switch Plates, ID Badges, Night Lights, Summer, Mintel International, Consumer Products Research, Unique Gifts.

Posted in Cooking, family, Food, Recipes, Unique Gifts | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Cool Eyeglasses Holders – Contemporary Styles To Keep Your Glasses Safe

Posted by Kyle Design on July 8, 2008

No more squinting or searching! I’ve just introduced my expanded line of unique eyeglass holders in time for summer fun. Tired of misplacing your glasses or not being able to see? Looking for eyeglasses leashes that you want to wear? If so, (ooo, I just love introducing something new!) you’ll want to check out these stylish, contemporary eye glass holder choices for both men and women that will save you the frustration of trying to find those rascally glasses. And so attractive you’ll want one for all your eyewear!

I started designing this collection of glasses holders about a year and a half ago when I ended up needing 3 new pairs of glasses – sunglasses, reading glasses for the computer and distance glasses. That’s usually how I come up with something new – it’s something I need!

I want to use attractive, colorful items that have an artistic flair, so usually I find I have to design the items I need myself. (Which is OK – I love designing!) It seems that most items on the market are just so boringly functional and basic. So I get working on coming up with something new! And as always with me, one design or style is not enough (I call myself the queen of overkill), so I’m featuring many here. I hope with the wide range of looks and colors available, you’ll actually enjoy wearing these styles. Never lose or break another pair of glasses again, whether they be your expensive designer sunglasses or your must-have everyday reading glasses.

Art Deco Eyeglasses Holders in Silver and GreenDesigner Accents: Just New! I’ve created these beaded styles to give the appearance of earrings – but with chains on the end! That way, they don’t scream “bad eyes”, “granny glasses” or “absent-minded sunglasses wearer”. Already in my experience wearing mine, people just complement me on my “earrings” without ever realizing that I’m actually wearing eyeglasses holders. Choose from many designs – including Irish Celtic, Cats, Hearts, Roses, Butterflies, Art Nouveau, Spirals and several abstract images. Each eyeglasses lanyard is custom made with your choice of either gold or silver design accents with 12 striking color systems from which to choose. Shown here is the silver Art Deco pattern with green aluminum chains and emerald glass beads.

 

Contemporary Eyeglasses Holders for Man or WomanClassic Yet Contemporary: These simple eyeglass leashes have just enough style to say “contemporary” with their anodized aluminum ball chains and black rubber loops, yet are slim, lightweight and comfortable. Perfect for the man or woman who doesn’t need flash yet still wants to look professional. Available in a dozen sophisticated colors, from classic black to a lovely lavender.

Fancy Beaded Glasses Holders with Crystals and Decorative ElementsPretty and Elegant: These beautiful glasses holders are designed with cut crystal beads to add a bit more sparkle and elegance to your look. Available in two lengths with either rubber grip clips or loops on the end. The best way to keep your reading glasses handy for when you need them is to use an eyeglass holder that is attractive and adds style to your look. These are perfect if you’re looking for a more traditional jewelry look (that you don’t normally find on eyeglasses holders!) If you love them, you’ll wear them!

Fun, Colorful Eyeglass Leashes with Turquoise and Purple Aluminum AccentsFun and Colorful: If you like a bolder look with more color, these eye-catching glasses chains are the way to go. Created with larger design elements and fun colors, to make more of an artistic statement. Also available in a black and silver combination and a pink and silver combination. And always, in a choice of attractive designs that span the looks from antique to contemporary.

I hope with the wide range of fashionable looks and colors available, you’ll actually enjoy wearing these styles. Never lose or break another pair of glasses again, whether they be your expensive designer sunglasses or your must-have everyday reading glasses. Now there is no excuse to not wear your glasses! No more wishing you could see! I enjoy wearing mine and love getting compliments. I hope you will, too! Please visit Unique Eyeglass Holders, Glasses Cases and Contact Lens Carriers for Kyle Design’s full selection of leashes, chains and holders for sunglasses, reading glasses and eyewear accessories.

Posted in Eyeglasses Holders, Fashion, Jewelry, Style, Unique Gifts | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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