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Archive for April, 2009

S.F. Bay-Friendly Garden Tour April 26th – Earth Week Tips for California Gardening

Posted by Kyle Design on April 25, 2009

Kelys Garden in Fremont, CA, features a gorgeous glass tile fountain with water lilies

Kely's Garden in Fremont, CA, features a gorgeous glass tile fountain with water lilies

Another excellent Earth Week event is the 6th Annual Bay Friendly Garden Tour is happening tomorrow April 26, 2009, around the San Francisco Bay Area and my sister, Kely, (Kyle, rearranged!) is one of the participants this year. In fact, Kely’s garden in Fremont is the one featured on the Bay-Friendly Garden Tour flier, with shots of her fountain and succulent garden.

Kely has a huge lemon tree, hammock and succulent garden which create a peaceful place to enjoy nature.

Kely has a huge lemon tree, hammock and succulent garden which create a peaceful place to enjoy nature.

Water Feature – Her garden is absolutely gorgeous, with a glass tile water fountain in blue, green and aqua shades. The fountain also provides water for wildlife and the resident goldfish eat mosquito larvae.

Organic Garden – Kely’s garden is pesticide-free. She has an organic kitchen garden with vegetables, fruit trees, edible nasturtiums (used in salads) and herbs. Other areas of her garden have bamboo, bearded irises, Japanese maples, and grasses. A huge lemon tree planted about 90 years ago provides shade over a hammock slung between posts of an arbor. Her garden is colorful, calm, and environmental conscious.

Native Plants – Kely has made an effort to create a beautiful yet environmentally-friendly garden. Her succulent garden is a gorgeous mix of chartreuse and pink-gray plants. A couple of years ago she redid her front garden, removing the water-thirsty grass lawn and replacing it with a mix of native California plants and other drought-tolerant bushes, (except for her roses, which she couldn’t give up.) She had landscape designer Tom Wilhite of Green Man Garden Design create a drought-tolerant cottage garden site plan for it with gorgeous results. He created pathways past plants with interesting textures and colors. The contrast of the California poppies and lavender bushes is particularly stunning.

Kyle Designs Garden Gate Holiday Ornament - A beautiful gift for those who love gardening and going green.

Kyle Design's Garden Gate Holiday Ornament - A beautiful gift for those who love gardening and going green.

Kid Friendly – Her daughter loves playing in the garden now because of all the interesting insects – butterflies, bees, ladybugs – that are constantly at work. Children playing hide-and-seek can hide behind the big miscanthus transmorrisonensis. They makes posies with the flowers and everyone loves how fragrant all the plants and flowers are. The kid-friendly arbor also has a swing in addition to the hammock. The kids spend a lot of time outdoors now!

Every drop of water is important in states like California which are facing drought.

Every drop of water is important in states like California which are facing drought.

Save Water, Save Money – Kely has used a variety of earth-friendly techniques. She installed a drip system and sheet mulching. To help retain the water, she first covered the drip lines with a newspaper barrier then mulch on top of that. Frequent mulching keeps water usage low. All these are important gardening tips for drought-stricken Californians. She has water-permeable walkways with inset solar lighting. These walkways help protect local watersheds because permeable paving helps prevent runoff. She also reused the concrete walkways that were torn out, turning them into pavers, and thereby reducing waste in garden. She conserves water by planting perennials and saves energy with deciduous trees (Sycamore, Japanese Maples) that shade the house in the summer and provide light in winter.

Registration for the garden tour is now closed for this year but if you’d like to be notified about next year’s tour, be sure to sign up at StopWaste.org.

Vegetable Garden Business Card Holder - A great way to promote organic gardening techniques

Vegetable Garden Business Card Holder - A great way to promote organic gardening techniques

If you’re looking for more unique gifts for gardeners, please visit Kyle Design’s Gardening Gifts page. You’ll find Christmas ornaments, sunglasses cases, jewelry, business card holders and more in nature theme designs like water, gardening tools, ladybugs, flowers, fruits, vegetables and bamboo.

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Tarantulas Invade CA, Celebrate with Spider Festival April 25th

Posted by Kyle Design on April 25, 2009

If that tarantula stings, have your pain relief pills at the ready in your Spider Bill Box from Kyle Design

If that tarantula stings, have your pain relief pills at the ready in your Spider Bill Box from Kyle Design

Tarantulas are on the march, heading towards Concord, CA, and the (San Francisco) Bay Area Tarantula Society’s Spring Sling Fling. This spider festival is being held today from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Concord Veterans Memorial Hall at 2290 Willow Pass Rd., Concord, CA, 94520. Admission is free – all you need is courage to overcome your fears of these creepy crawlies.

Are your fears justified? You’ll see these tarantula collectors (apparently they becomes quite addictive) allow these large invertebrates to climb all over them with hardly a care. Are these people crazy? Do they have a death wish? No and No. Members just want to spread awareness of these creatures, and no humans (on record) have ever been killed by a tarantula.

Afraid of the dark? This stained glass Spider Night Light will help calm arachnophiles fears.

Afraid of the dark? This stained glass Spider Night Light will help calm arachnophiles' fears.

However – tarantulas are not just cuddly balls of fur on the move. They really can sting if inclined using the fangs in their front legs. Plus their hair is barbed and contains a very toxic irritant. Sounds fun! Best to pick a tarantula with a laid-back disposition if you are going to start collecting them.

In our house when we hear “DAD!!!! There’s a spider!“, it’s on the ceiling. When we hear “MOM!!!! There’s a spider!”, it’s on the wall or the floor. (Lucky me.) In both situations, the inflection in our daughters’ cries would imply that the spiders are as large as tarantulas. Maybe some education about arachnids in general would be a good thing. This festival would be a good place to teach your your kids about spiders so they are brave enough to deal with them by themselves. Maybe a spider night light would help inure them to their innate fear of these fun invert pets!

How long do tarantulas live? Females can live up to 20 years, so make sure you aren’t the type who has commitment issues.

Spiders are found all over the world, just like the World Wide Web, and are serious business to arachnophiles. Here is the perfect business card holder for them.

Spiders are found all over the world, just like the World Wide Web, and are serious business to arachnophiles. Here is the perfect business card holder for them.

Festival events will include demonstrations, sexing instructions and mating exhibitions where these arachnophiles intend to prevent the females from eating the males post coitus.

Fascinated by spiders? Check out my Spider Gifts where you’ll find Pill Boxes, Night Lights and Business Card Holders with spiders and arachnids.

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Moms: Earth Day’s Earliest Advocates – And Mothers Didn’t Even Know It!

Posted by Kyle Design on April 22, 2009

Moms have always encouraged us to behave in ways that protect Mother Earth, whether they were conscious of it or not, and Earth Day 2009 is a great time day to reflect a moment on this. Consider if you will these momisms:

Wear a vegetable name badge holder to work so you remember to go green!

Wear a vegetable name badge holder to work so you remember to go green!

Feeling inspired to find new ways to save energy? This light bulb business card holder is great way to keep it on your mind.

Feeling inspired to find new ways to save energy? This light bulb business card holder is great way to keep it on your mind.

Eat Your Vegetables! – Moms have been trying to get us to go green since the beginning of (my) time. Even Thumper in the movie Bambi (1942) quotes his mother. “”Eating greens is a special treat, It makes long ears and great big feet. But it sure is awful stuff to eat.” I made that last part up myself.” I shop locally at the Farmer’s Market here in Livermore, CA, for my greens and fruits the year round. I eat them, too. And ended up with big feet. 😉

Turn Off The Lights! – What household doesn’t ring with the echo of this familiar refrain of moms trying to save money? Turns out it also helps save the world. I tell my own kids that someday they will be sorry they wasted that energy. I can see their little minds calculating the veracity of such statements.

No TV Until You Finish Your Homework! – Yes, distract yourself with activities that don’t require the use of electricity. Maybe that’s not quite what mom meant, but hey, its good for the environment. Play outside! Hide in the dark! Anything to put off getting that homework done until the last minute. By the time you get it done, it’s past your bedtime and there is no need to fire up that big energy-sucking tube.

Hang your backpack on the side of your desk with this Television purse hook and think about your favorite TV show.

Hang your backpack on the side of your desk with this Television purse hook and think about your favorite TV show.

Hurry Up Or You’ll Be Walking To School! – Walking is great for kids. Perhaps they really do want to get that exercise. And maybe it isn’t just that Mom doesn’t want to be late for work. Really she’s trying to get you to burn less fossil fuel. And adding that heavy backpack is the best way to build muscle. Isn’t that what they do it the military during practice exercises? “It’s good for you!” Just want all kids want to hear.

World Refrigerator Magnet Clip - Think about Mother Earth each time you open the fridge.

World Refrigerator Magnet Clip - Think about Mother Earth each time you open the fridge.

But really, being an Earth Day advocate is good for all of us and Mother Earth, too.

Please visit Kyle Design if you’d like to see more of my Gifts for Mom, TV Gifts, Light Bulb Inspirational Gifts, Vegetable Gift Ideas and Earth Gifts where you’ll find unique business card holders, purse hooks, ID badge holders and more.

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Brown Switch Plates, Electrical Devices – Large Wall Plate Selection New at Kyle Design

Posted by Kyle Design on April 20, 2009

shop-brown-switch-plates-blog

Update: Kyle Design has launched it’s new site dedicated to switch plates and electrical devices: Kyle Switch Plates.

Finally! By popular request, Kyle Switch Plates is now selling brown switch plates, outlet covers and matching brown electrical switches. And we are stocking them in a wide range of standard sized wall plates as well as those hard-to-find oversize switch plate sizes.

Brown Wall Plates for Natural Harmony and Tranquility

brown-best-selling-switch-plates

Rich Brown Switch Plates

Our light switch wall plates are a rich mahogany brown that is beautiful with the natural, tranquil look in room decor that is a growing trend in 2009. These neutral colors evoke calm and warmth, creating spaces that are comforting and inviting, an especially important feeling for home owners facing a challenging housing market. Brown switch plates are the right finishing touch against wood paneling or walls painted in earthy hues, natural wheat colors, rich cranberry shades or warm tropical tones.

Real Switch Plates for Real Homes

Ever notice something missing in those magazine spreads for room design ideas or on the design resources gallery pages on paint manufacturer’s web sites? All the switch plates have been airbrushed out of the photos! Get real. This is simply weird and not at all possible in actual homes. Besides, decorative switch plates can play an important roll in bringing elements of a room together. When done right, they add to the look. Why are those professional designers so lame that they can’t even figure out how to do that? IMHO, they need to shop at Kyle Switch Plates – I have some very sophisticated decorative wall plates as an alternative to the classic metal switch plates shown here.

Brown switch plates and electrical devices can harmonize without drawing the eye, giving rooms a cohesive, understated look. Furthermore, light switch plates can provide a small, appropriate decorative accent that unifies decor within a room. Brown wall plates are an affordable, realistic solution to redecorating a home.

Current Design Trends

Current looks reflect rich wooden furnishings, wood molding and trims, neutral window treatments, warm-toned fabric colors and earthy wall paint finishes like mocha, chocolate brown, cinnamon bark, autumn harvest, pepper spice and ancient bronze. Major room elements such as wood tables and chairs provide a solid foundation, and nature based paint colors (and the neutral switchplates that go best with them) help create a cohesive look. Brown switch plates look great with neutral color schemes, country style homes, Southwest decor and Retro looks.

Coordinating Electrical Devices

brown-toggle-switches

Brown Switches for Brown Switch Plates

Real homes also have practical electrical needs. Maybe you need a single device that can control three or even four lights. Or a brown electrical device that has a small light and outlet all on one housing. Don’t let wiring issues prevent you from choosing the best wall plates for your room. Kyle Switch Plates stocks brown electrical switches and receptacles to help you meet code and solve all your electric supply challenges.

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California Independent Film Festival CIFF in Livermore CA

Posted by Kyle Design on April 20, 2009

Film Festival Holiday Ornament - Great Gift for Movie Directors, Actors, Screenwriters

Film Festival Holiday Ornament - Great Gift for Movie Directors, Actors, Screenwriters

Hurry! Today is the last day of the Califronia Independent Film Festival here in Livermore CA and there are still tickets available at the door for some great cinematic treats. (Vine Theater at 1772 First Street right in Downtown Livermore.)

Sunday Morning Festival Schedule

This morning you can catch nine Comedy Shorts from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in Theater #1 (scroll way day to view really short Video Clips of Shorts here – is that a joke, too?). Titles include Cost of Living, HiBi-Chan, Just In Case, Rolla Saor (Free Film), The Green Film, The Mix Up, Three-Fifty, Ticket for Success and Wrong Number.

The 2009 Best Documentary Slate Award in being held in Theater #2.

Football Switch Plates would look great in the den of football fans, players and announcers.

Football Switch Plates would look great in the den of football fans, players and announcers.

Sunday Noon Schedule

The Shorts: Program C is showing in Theater #1 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. with six films. This section is sponsored by Goal Line Productions. Goal Line Productions is the full service sound stage company of Joe Madden (son of football player, Raider’s coach John Madden – who on Friday just announced his retirement from sports broadcasting after 30 years) and Jonathan “Sketch” White, who is the company’s studio manager. Again, you can view shorts of shorts More Video Shorts of Shorts. Films scheduled are Akira’s Hip Hop Shop, The Fenceline, The Miracle, Ruïne and Fertilize.

Award Winning Pill Box - Keep Your Eyes on the Prize: Great way to encourage a filmmaker, writer or videographer to keep going for it!

Award Winning Pill Box - Keep Your Eyes on the Prize: Great way to encourage a filmmaker, writer or videographer to keep going for it!

Over in Theater #2 in the Sapporo Short Fest Program that is sponsored by Kaori & Derek Zemrak (the lowbudget movie director and producer). International films showing in in this section include The Pond, Spoorweg (Losing Track), Auf der Strecke (On the Line – winner of over 50 international awards), Lumen, AlpTraum (Final Kick), Lui and Lone Rider.

Sunday Afternoon Schedule

From 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., you can catch the feature film Rock Slyde in Theater #1, sponsored by Livermore Valley Florist.

Over in Theater #2, the festival is showing Shorts: Schedule A. Movies include On the Road to Tel-Aviv, Red Letter, Black Rose or How Mr. Fossenrath Tried Not to Change the World, Next Floor, The Border, Silent Lake, Limpiando Sapos and Ping Pong.

Sunday Evening Film Schedule

The feature film Camille, starring David Carradine, James Franco and Sienna Miller about a couple on their way to their honeymoon at Niagara Falls, will be showing in Theater #1.

Reach for the Stars! Movie Star business card holder will reflect your professional attitude toward a challenging, creative career choice.

Reach for the Stars! Movie Star business card holder will reflect your professional attitude toward a challenging, creative career choice.

In Theater #2 will be Shorts: Program B, again sponsored by Goal Line Productions. Films scheduled are Pluzman, Collector, Dudley’s Raft, One Little Step, La Lili à Gilles and Editing.

Sunday Night Film Schedule

The last film showing during this festival is War Eagel, Arkansas which runs from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. It looks like a very moving, poignant moive that is based on a true story.

Be sure to check out Kyle Design’s unique gifts, business card holders, switch plates, pill boxes and Christmas ornaments. Click any of the photos to see more interesting gift ideas for actors, directors, movie stars, videographers, writers and more.

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The Purse Hook – Hot “Design Your Own” Handbag Accessory

Posted by Kyle Design on April 18, 2009

Purse Hooks are the latest hot accessory for women who carry handbags!

Purse Hooks are the latest hot accessory for women who carry handbags!

Familiar yet with handbag holders, those strong hooks that hang over the edge of a table or bar to keep purses close and germ-free? Here at Kyle Design we’ve added our own twist to these up-and-coming must-have accessories that are turning into the coolest new gift idea for women of style.

Unlike other sites that offer you a dozen or two popular images (purse, cat, flower, spiral, shoes, etc. – yes, we have those, too), Kyle Design offers over 400 patterns. Specialized designs include professions, sports, musical instruments, more unusual animals, monograms,  games, crafts, Chinese characters, alcoholic drinks, fruit, trees, desserts and so much more.

Better yet, you decide what color you want, you decide if you prefer silver or gold. Literally, you create the look, we create the purse hook. No need to have a generic handbag hanger, no fear of two women whipping out the same exact holder. And we’re fast. We typically ship within a day or two – even for custom items such as these designer handbag holders.

Do Comedy and Tragedy describe your dating experience? Then we've got just the purse hook for you!

Do Comedy and Tragedy describe your dating experience? Then we've got just the purse hook for you!

Choices, Choices: How many possibilities are there? Currently, 440 original designs x 2 metal choices x 19 gorgeous colors = over 16,000 possible looks! How many friends do you have on Facebook? How many of them carry handbags? More than 16,000? I think that the chances are pretty good that you won’t show up at a restaurant or bar with the same purse hanger.

Simple? Yes! They are so easy to use. Simply set handbag holder disc on the edge of table and hook on a purse strap. That’s it!

Interested in Safety? These purse hangers are perfect for holding designer handbags, shopping bags, digital camera, tote bag strap, umbrellas or backpacks where they stay clean, safe and convenient – right next to you at a table or bar. No more worries about forgetting a purse on the back of a chair, an umbrella on the floor, or being distracted and forgetting to keep an eye on your wallet.

We have great designs for professional women such as this purse hook for a pharmacist.

We have great designs for professional women such as this purse hook for a pharmacist.

Single? These designer handbag holders are great conversation starters, too! They provide a small window into your world that someone new could run with. Although popular in Europe for years, purse table hooks are new enough here in the U.S. that most people I run into are curious about them.

Support American Designers? California artist Kyle McKeown Mansfield creates all the fun designs and unique patterns found on every handbag caddy. You can be the designer when you design your own purse hook – we’ll make it for you right here in our art studio and promptly ship your personalized purse table hook to you in a velveteen pouch.

Show your creative side, have fun, express the real you! Select a purse hook design/color/metal grouping that is a true reflection of who you are! They make wonderful gifts for her including professional women, working girls, dating singles or the handbag queen.

Want to see more? Check out our full collection of Uniqe Purse Hanger Designs. We also have really cool gifts for professionals like pharmacists, attorneys, doctors, dentists, nurses, scientists, mathematicians and others.

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April Barrage of Butterflies in S.F. Bay Area

Posted by Kyle Design on April 18, 2009

Flit around in style with this gorgeous butterfly credit card wallet that is great for holding business cards, too.

Flit around in style with this gorgeous butterfly credit card wallet that is great for holding business cards, too.

It seems that the first butterflies flitting around the garden indicate that winter is over and spring has sprung. This year spring was announced in a BIG way with a brilliant show of thousands of orange Painted Lady butterflies. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, hundreds of butterflies a minute passed over cars, buildings, trees and people, on their northern migration from the Southern California desserts to Northern California.

The Painted Ladies do not stop flying until they run out of body fat. Then these butterflies will lay eggs, and their offspring will continue the northern migration next year into Oregon, Washington and even British Columbia. When I asked my niece if she saw the butterflies she said the children at school spent the entire recess running around the playground chasing them.

As soon as I got close to the flowers, the butterflies would fly away.

As soon as I got close to the flowers, the butterflies would fly away.

The butterflies’ multi-year migration is similar to that of their cousins, the Monarch Butterfly, who begin their migration in Mexico and over three generations eventually migrate to Canada. Then the fourth generation returns to Mexico in one continuous flight.

It is amazing to me that these small, beautiful creatures can posses the navigational skills, strength and tenacity to continue a journey of thousands of miles.

Bring the butterflies inside with a Butterfly Switch Plate to light up your room!

Bring the butterflies inside with a Butterfly Switch Plate to light up your room!

(Wo)Man vs. Wild Butterflies: These butterflies know how to avoid predators! Every time I even got close to the flower bush in hopes of capturing 8 or 10 in a photo, most would take off and flutter away. I still managed to snap four in this photo, and I considered myself lucky. All the rest were in the air above the flowers. They weren’t ready to leave these tasty African Daisies, but they weren’t taking any chances either. I was just happy to be gardening with them nearby.

It has been fun having the butterflies paint the town!

If you love butterflies and are looking for cool butterfly accessories, check out Kyle Design’s Butterfly Gifts. We have all kinds of unusual butterfly items that you won’t find anywhere else: Light switch plates, business card holders, tape measures, flasks, eyeglass cases and much, much more!

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Posted in Animals, art, Business, Business Card Cases, business card holders, Cigarette Cases, color, Gardening, Metal Wallets, Switch Plates, switchplates, Unique Gifts, Wall Plates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Turn a Snail into a Business Card Holder

Posted by Kyle Design on April 18, 2009

Pick the snail that appeals most to you. Green with golden highlights or brown with silver highlights.

Pick the snail that appeals most to you. Green with golden highlights or brown with silver highlights.

You’ve seen those blogs that tell you how to make a business card case out of a cassette tape, recycled circuitboard or Popsicle sticks. But I’ll show you how to make a cool business card holder out of a snail. Yes, a snail. In three easy steps!

1. Snails come in so many different colors if you look carefully. Here are two of my favorites. For this example I narrowed it down to a snail with a beautiful amber shell with silvery highlights or a green snail with golden highlights.

2. I settled on the brown snail for this demonstration. The next step is choosing the right classic metal business card holder. Choices include silver, gold or black. I think the brown snail looks especially nice against the black business card holder, so that’s what I’m going to use. I’ve also chosen the thick business cards holder because it is so practical. The matte black finish really hides dirt, fingerprints and snail guts, plus the deep size lets me hold more business cards and credit cards.

Your snail will make a really cool business card holder.

Your snail will make a really cool business card holder.

3. You want your card case to have a really slim profile, so place the silver and brown snail on the black case and smoosh hard. That’s all it takes to turn a snail into a business card holder. You create the exact look that works for you and everyone can still recognize the snail of the front of your case. These DIY business card holders also make great gifts for Slow Food Nation members, mail carriers or crafty insect-lover types who take their time to do things right!

Difficulty Level: Easy Sheamsy – at Kyle Design

Pick a color, any color! Custom business cards look great in a matching personzalized business card holder.

Pick a color, any color! Custom business cards look great in a matching personzalized business card holder.

At Kyle Design we help you turn any number of animals and insects into business card holders. Better yet, you can create your case for business cards in any color you want, thick or thin, silver or gold, black or not. You design it easily, we make it quickly. Check us out: Kyle Design Business Card Holders.

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