Color Style Kyle

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

Archive for the ‘Bookmarks’ Category

Two is Better than One

Posted by Kyle Design on February 24, 2012

When it comes to cookies, friends, vacation days, and 100-dollar-bills, I’d say 2 is better than 1. At Kyle Design, we understand that sometimes, one is just not enough. That’s why we have Double Design Gifts. Use two designs to convey a unique gift message. Get creative! Let our “Lucky in Love” compact mirror, “21st Birthday” flask, and “Family Practitioner” business card holder inspire you. Another fun idea is to pick out 2 letters for someone’s initials and add them to a custom double design pill box, bookmark, or decorative metal cell phone case. With over 500 designs there’s a lot of great combos out there! What will yours be?


Design Your Own Compact Mirror


Custom Cigarette Case from Kyle Design


Personalized 21st Birthday Custom Flask


What 2 designs will you put together?

Design Themes include sports, occupations, animals, foods, hobbies, and more!


Double Design Custom Christmas Ornaments

Double Design Custom Christmas Ornaments

Custom Silver Eiffel Tower Eye Glasses Holder

Off to Paris Dual Design Glasses Case


Decorative Metal Business Card Cases

Posted in Bookmarks, Business Card Cases, Eyeglasses Holders, Flasks, Gifts, Glasses Cases, Metal Wallets, Online Shopping, Unique Gifts, Vitamin Cases, women | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Gifts for Friends with Specific Interests

Posted by Kyle Design on December 7, 2011

We all have that one Facebook friend who’s constantly updating their status and uploading pictures to update us on their current obsession whether it’s athletic shoes, the Twilight movies, their cat, or their latest masterpiece in the kitchen (yes, those chocolate brownies look delicious thanks for sharing!). Whether they’re on Facebook or not, we deal regularly with the specialized interests of the people closest to us. My best friend is obsessed with the Wizard of Oz, my mom’s obsessed with her dog, and my neat-freak brother is obsessed with cleaning his car (he’s the weirdo washing his car in the driveway at 2am). I’m sure on some level you can relate.

The best thing about people with such obvious interests is that they are SO much fun to shop for! Nothing beats getting a gift that someone will use (like a purse hook) with a design they’ll love (like high heel shoes for my fashionista girlfriend who has about 300 pair – but I’m not complaining since we’re both a size 8). At Kyle Design, there are 500 designs that you can put on any one of our gift items. So if you know someone who loves their dog, you can get them a dog ornament, dog pill box, dog bookmark, dog purse hook – the list goes on and on because you can get a dog on any item we sell on our site!

Customized Poodle Pill Cases

Personalize a Pill Box Gift for someone special

We have 7 different dog designs . Want a pill box with a Chihuahua instead of a Poodle? Design one now at

And that goes for our other designs as well – we have designs for all sorts of specific hobbies, interests, and careers. We’ve got common designs like flowers, sports, and animals, and super niche designs like quilting, the I Love You sign language sign, and the Asian symbol for Happiness. I have a feeling you’ve got a specific design in mind right now and you’re wondering if we have it – chances are we do – click Kyle’s Design Categories Page and see for yourself!

Once you find a design that fits that special someone you’re shopping for, just find the Kyle Design gift you’d like to put it on, then add your favorite design to that product in silver or gold and pick any background color to personalize your gift for the recipient. On many gifts you can also add a high quality diamond-tip engraving for even further customization.

Since I rarely update my Facebook status, people probably don’t know what I’m obsessed with (leopard print…hint hint). Christmas is just a couple weeks away – if you haven’t been updating your Facebook and Twitter enough this might be a good time to start (otherwise you’ll probably end up with another tacky item that will have you wishing you had given your status a little more thought). Happy Holiday Shopping from Kyle Design!

Posted in Animals, Bookmarks, business card holders, Unique Gifts | Leave a Comment »

Unique Custom Photo Frames from Kyle Design

Posted by Kyle Design on October 25, 2011

New unique photo frames at Kyle Design are just in time for this holiday season! These sturdy, wooden frames come with a custom decorative metal design and there’s 6 fun colors to choose from. Just like all our other products, they are fully customizable – you can select from one of our hundreds of images and various background colors. Choose a holiday design and put out your family’s holiday photos in style. They’re also great for pictures of pets! Or, give them out to friends, family-members or co-workers this Christmas.  They’re great for your parents or grandparents and come in both 4×7 and 5×7 sizes. Get yours today!

If you’re looking to decorate your tree, don’t miss out on our photo frame ornaments. We also have pretty photo lockets and picture frame bookmarks if you’re needing one-of-a-kind gifts or stocking stuffers.

Shop Kyle Design for unique gifts to impress any animal lover

Shop Kyle Design for unique gifts to impress any animal lover

Shop Unique Photo Frames in Silver or Gold at Kyle Design

These photo frames are sure to be appreciated by Grandma & Grandpa this holiday season!

Posted in Animals, Birthday, Bookmarks, Christmas Ornaments, Gifts, Holidays, Unique Gifts | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Personalized Graduation Gifts

Posted by Kyle Design on May 17, 2011

With graduation just around the corner, the entire staff at Kyle Design is gearing up for the celebration. Each year we engraved hundreds of graduation quotes commending students all around the world for their perseverance and dedication as they conclude one chapter in their life and begin the next. Whether they are graduating from law school or high school, graduates deserve a memento to remember this milestone and look back at it with a sense of accomplishment.

A great gift for graduates is a beautiful ornament honoring their achievement with a congratulatory engraving that they will be proud to display during the holidays or even year round. Finding the perfect gifts for grads can often times be complicated, but at Kyle Design we do our very best to make sure that whatever item you choose will be one-of-a-kind and special.
For English Literature or Creative Writing majors, a unique bookmark with our graduation cap design is a useful gift idea that they will continue to use for years to come. This bookmark is durable and just the right size and can even be engraved on the back with a graduation date or the graduate’s initials.

If your graduate will be setting out into the business world, choose from our many occupational designs to adorn a sophisticated business card case that they can use at interviews or mixers. These professional business card holders are one of our top-selling gifts for graduation and can be given to any student who is about to enter the corporate environment.

If you know anyone who is graduating from a nursing school, consider surprising them with a practical custom badge reel that they’ll use well throughout their career. Available with a nurse cap or RN design, these reels are one of our most popular graduation gifts for nurses.

The graduation of a family member or loved one is a momentous occasion for families and friends everywhere. This year put a little bit of thought into the gifts you give by personalizing them with your graduate’s name, favorite color or future occupation for an unforgettable surprise.

Posted in Bookmarks, Business Card Cases, business card holders, Christmas Ornaments | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Engraved Metal Bookmarks with Tassels – When You Have A Lot to Say

Posted by Kyle Design on June 28, 2009

New at Kyle Design: beautiful engraved bookmarks in 100s of designs, dozens of colors. Thanks to everyone who asked me for book marks with a larger engraving area! Here’s what I have created:

Engraved Metal Book Marks with Tassels - Plenty of room to say all you want.

Engraved Metal Book Marks with Tassels - Plenty of room to say all you want.

These “Create Your Own” metal bookmarks are designed with openwork etching around a roomy engraving area with a thematic design at the top. In fact, there is room to engrave a quote or longer inscription and have three lines of text 35 characters in each on the front, AND the back if you have that much you’d like to say. We engraved lengthwise down the bookmark.

This metal bookmark has been engraved with a wonderful quote from Walt Disney.

This metal bookmark has been engraved with a wonderful quote from Walt Disney.

Favorite quote about reading: “There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” – Walt Disney

So when we say “Create Your Own”, here’s how much you may customize these page holders for books:

Design: Hundreds from which to choose – sports, hobbies, career, arts, music, flowers, nature, animals, insects, religions and so much more. Currently 450+ images.

Color: Lots of color choices – either brilliant anodized aluminum or shimmery iridescent film (which I hand make) for a more unusual look.

Metal: Polished gold or brushes silver with antiqued design accents.

Tassel: Yes, your choice there as well. Create a color combination to match school colors, just pick a favorite or keep it classic with black.

Engraved Message: Well, that is up to you, optional of course, but we do offer pages of quotes to peruse to help you capture the sentiment you are after.

Combine all this and you have created an extra special gift that truly will be unique. If you’d like to see other styles of engraved bookmarks, please visit Kyle Design Engraved Metal Bookmarks.

Posted in Artistic Gifts, Bookmarks, Engraving, Gifts, Quotes, Unique Gifts | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Extra Crispy Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp And Pie – Experimenting is Fun!

Posted by Kyle Design on June 13, 2009

It is fruit and berry season again, and the first day of summer vacation for the kids. I’ve just baked my second pie of the week plus a strawberry rhubarb crisp, with the help of four kids – my girls, age 10 and 13 and their boy cousins, age 11 and 14. Baking is a great way to keep kids busy, have them learn some new cooking skills and have them experiment with some new flavors. New for the boys: cardamom. New for all the kids: rhubarb.

Fresh Fruit Business Card Holder for farmers, foodies and anyone who loves summer

Fresh Fruit Business Card Holder for farmers, foodies and anyone who loves summer

(My first pie of the season was a bit of a disaster – my oven broke while the pie was in it baking – no flaky crust there! Just a soggy mess – sooo disappointing.) Oven has been fixed, and I was wanting to erase the bad pie memories with the wonderful smell of fruity baking goodness.

Love to bake? Enjoy fresh strawberries? Capture the spirit of the season with a strawberry name badge holder.

Love to bake? Enjoy fresh strawberries? Capture the spirit of the season with a strawberry name badge holder.

Today’s pie is a strawberry rhubarb pie, which was my dad’s favorite. With Father’s Day coming up next weekend, memories of him are on my mind. We used to grow rhubarb in our backyard growing up and when I saw it at the Farmers Market I knew that was the right pie for this new memory making job.

We made pie dough from scratch – really not hard or too time-consuming when you have a Cuisinart, although it turned out a little sticky for some reason this time. While waiting for the pie crust dough to sit in the refrigerator for an hour, however, we whipped together a slightly different strawberry rhubarb crisp that was really good (and gone before the pie was even come out of the oven, so I guess this new flavor was a winner!)

I’m an artist  – I love to experiment and try new ways of doing things and trying new flavors. Yet another creative outlet for me! My youngest daughter does not like fruit (horrors!), so I make a batch of crisp topping for her separately. This time we made a double batch and discovered that the extra crispy bits were especially good mixed into the regular crisp. Always something new….

Extra Crispy Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp


2 c. rhubarb, cubed into 1/2″ pieces

Encourage Kids to Cook and Plan Meals with a Cooking Bookmark for Cookbooks

Encourage Kids to Cook and Plan Meals with a Cooking Bookmark for Cookbooks

1 c. sliced strawberries

1/2 c. sugar

3 T.  flour

1/4. cardamom

dash of nutmeg

Combine and pour into a greased 8″ x 8″ baking pan.


1 c. brown sugar

1 c. flour

1 c. old-fashioned rolled oats

1/4 t. ground cardamom

dash of nutmeg

1/2 c. softened butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine topping ingredients in bowl or plastic bag and mix thoroughly. Sprinkle half of topping mix over filling. To create the extra crispy topping, pour the remaining topping mix into a separate greased oven-proof pan and bake at the same time as the pan of filling and topping. Remove the crispy topping after about 20-25 minutes (keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn), and continue baking the filling and topping pan for about 10-15 minutes more, for a total of 35 minutes.

Serve up the crisp filling and sprinkle the extra crispy topping over it, stirring in if desired. The result is a delicious chewy, crispy, sweet, sour mix of flavors and textures.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie - Good memories in the making, and the baking

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie - Good memories in the making, and the baking

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie – This Pie Is Really Good!

3 c. rhubarb, in 1/2″ slices

1 1/2 c. sliced strawberries

1 1/4 c. sugar

3 T. tapioca

1/4 t. salt

1/4 t. ground cardamom

1/8 t. ground nutmeg

3/4 t. grated orange peel

Strawberry Pie ala Mode Christmas Ornament - A great way to capture those memories of baking together.

Strawberry Pie ala Mode Christmas Ornament - A great way to capture those memories of baking together.

Mix above ingredients and let sit for 15 minutes before pouring into unbaked pie crust.

Pastry for two-crust pie

Roll out pie dough and line a 9″ pie pan with one of the crusts. Pour in fruit mixture, cover with top crust and crimp edges. Cut a few slits in the top, sprinkle with a little bit of sugar. (To protect edge of crust from getting too dark while baking, cut length of foil, cut in half length-wise and wrap over crimped edge of pie.) Bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes, removing foil after 30 minutes if used.

If you love to bake or know someone else who does, please be sure to visit Kyle Design’s Baking and Cooking Gift Ideas pages, as well as our other pages for Strawberries, Fruit, Pie, Christmas Ornaments, Business Card Holders, Vitamin Boxes and Bookmarks for other interesting gifts for those who appreciate the different.

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Posted in artist, Artistic Gifts, Badge Holders, Bookmarks, Business, Business Card Cases, business card holders, Christmas Ornaments, Cooking, Creativity, family, Father's Day, Food, Gifts, Healthy eating, kids, Lifestyle, mom, Online Shopping, Pill Boxes, professional artist, Recipes, Shopping, Unique Gifts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Last Minute Gifts for Mom on Mother’s Day – Cool Practical Gift Ideas for Her Special Day

Posted by Kyle Design on May 2, 2009

It’s almost Mother’s Day – have you gotten your Mom anything special yet? Looking for unique last minute gifts? If not, Kyle Design can save the day for you with our unique, useful gifts for moms. If you just get some silly, frivolous impulse item from the mall at the last second, your MOM WILL KNOW. There is still time to get your wife, mother or mother-in-law a special gift that shows how much you really care. A present from Kyle Design quietly screams, “A Truly Unique Gift Custom Made for You!”

Mom Rules! Even when things get dramatic! Let her know with a cute Comedy and Tragedy tape measure.

Mom Rules! Even when things get dramatic! Let her know with a cute Comedy and Tragedy tape measure.

Artistic Gifts Made To Order – Mom will not have seen anything like a gift from Kyle Design before, and better yet, we custom make each item to order with her favorite color, design, silver or gold metal finishes and personalized engraving of choice. We ship within a day, too, and even the same day if you ask, so we can help you get her gift there by Mother’s Day. Can’t beat it!

Fast, Easy, Safe: Mom doesn’t need to know that shopping online at Kyle Design was faster than getting in the car and driving to the mall, easier than searching through racks at a dozen stores (unless you really wanted to get in that 5 mile walk at a noisy mall after work), and a whole lot safer than being around crowds during a swine flu outbreak.

Fresh, Practical Gift Ideas from Kyle Design

So here are just of a few of our many new, useful gift suggestions that might work for your mom:

Give mom a goddess purse hook - then shell know just how amazing you think she really is.

Give mom a goddess purse hook - then she'll know just how amazing you think she really is.

Purse Hooks – New on the scene, these really practical holders for handbags are a hot item. When mom does have time to get out, make sure she can really relax and have a good time without having to keep an eye on her purse. Handbag holders get her purse off that disgusting restaurant floor, keep her handbag right where she can see it when sitting at a bar. So easy to use – just slip the purse hanger over the edge of a table, bar or desk and hook the purse strap over it. Great for holding umbrellas, digital cameras and shopping bags, too. No more worries! That is the best gift you can give any mom.

A floral business or credit card holder makes a beautiful gift of flowers for mom on Mothers Day.

A floral business or credit card holder makes a beautiful gift of flowers for mom on Mother's Day.

Credit Card Holders – Our slim, feminine credit card and ID holders are the perfect place for mom to stash her wallet essentials without the bulk – driver’s license, credit cards, ATM card, business cards and a little cash. Keeps mom streamlined and organized. We have hundreds of designs, but if you select a card case with flowers on it – roses, irises, sunflowers, orchids or hibiscus – you’ll be giving mom flowers that last! No need to water, either. This special gift reminds her daily to stop and smell the roses, too.

Bookmarks – Ah, to take a few minutes to read a favorite magazine or a good book – there’s a real luxury in our busy lives. A beautiful book mark that says “I Love You” is a wonderful way to let mom know  you love her even when she is taking a break from all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, errands and whatnot required to keep her share of the household running smoothly. Maybe give her that latest best-selling paperback book she’s been wanting to read along with the bookmark and she’ll know you really mean it.

Give your mother a unique bookmark that says I Love You every time she looks at it.

Give your mother a unique bookmark that says "I Love You" every time she looks at it.

Make Mom Happy with a practical gift from Kyle Design that she will really use and enjoy. If you’d like to see more of my fun gifts ideas for mom (available in 100s of designs), please visit Unique Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Mom where you’ll find so many unusual, innovative gifts made exclusively by Kyle Design. We’ve been in business since 1982 and are known for our beautiful gifts and excellent customer service, so you can be assured that we’ll help you take good care of your Mother. Give us a call at 800-551-5953 between the hours of 9:00-5:00 PST if you’d like any help at all choosing the right gift.

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Posted in Artistic Gifts, Bookmarks, Business Card Cases, business card holders, Engraving, Functional Art, Handbag Holder, Holidays, mom, Online Shopping, Purse Hook, Shopping, Unique Gifts, woman, women | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

October Book Group Expo in San Jose CA: Funny, Fascinating, Amazing

Posted by Kyle Design on January 11, 2009

Van Jones, author of the Green Collar Economy, with Kyle Design artist Kyle McKeown Mansfield

Van Jones, author of the Green Collar Economy, with Kyle Design artist Kyle McKeown Mansfield

Writer's Money Clip - A "Think Positive" Reminder for Aspiring Authors

Writer's Money Clip - A "Think Positive" Reminder for Aspiring Authors

I once again attended the Book Group Expo in San Jose, CA in October 2008 and absolutely loved it! What a wonderful experience for any book lovers, book collectors, writers, authors, readers or book group members. It gives you excellent ideas for book group reading lists and discussion questions. And they have books for sale and book signings with the authors afterward – all in one place!

There are so many great ideas flying around, so many like-minded people, so many fascinating authors. These writers are really smart, well-informed, opinionated, insightful and very funny – I think that’s why they are so successful.

The Book Group Expo is structured as such: Discussions of a particular theme or topic, referred to as “salons“, are set up with a moderator and three or four writers in a living room type of setting in small conference rooms. The feeling is quite intimate and open, much like our own reading group meetings, which comfortably encourages many questions from the audience and a free exchange of thoughts and ideas. Just like a book group, just on a slightly larger scale without being intimidating, as I assume is the organization’s intention. Well done!!

Book Group Hip Flask - A little something to facilitate the easy flow of ideas

Book Group Hip Flask - A little something to facilitate the easy flow of ideas

As an artist myself, it is oddly enlightening to be on the other side of the attention. I love these artists’ works, so it is interesting to gain a deeper understanding or at least just some insights into what the authors had in mind and how they approach the creative process. I just want to drink in everything these creative individuals have to say – learn from it, incorporate ideas into my own approach to work, enjoy their pieces more.

I always appreciate customers who take the time to let me know they love my work, and would have to assume the same of other artists whose work requires solitude. (Although book tours and signings might be too much at once – I am lucky because I get encouraging gems from customers nearly every day – quite often just the little boost I need when running a small business feels overwhelming.) So I ran to get in line after the each salon was finished to get my book signed and better yet, have a brief chance to talk with the author.

Of course, being part of a book group myself, it is a wonderful opportunity to get ideas for new books to suggest at our next meeting. Some of the authors and books that really impressed follow.

Solar Homes Business Card Case - Solar Energy and Green Building Techniques are among the many solutions we can implement today to fight global warming.

Solar Homes Business Card Case - Solar Energy and Green Building Techniques are among the many solutions we can implement today to fight global warming.

Van Jones, Author of The Green Collar Economy: It is so reassuring that brilliant people are putting their minds to work on resolving the looming issue of global warming. I’ve been to other lectures that left me so discouraged, but Jones lays out ways of dealing with the issue now and what needs to be worked on. I left the lecture hopeful, and expressed that to him later. Hope is VERY important. We can’t get discouraged or dwell on the negative, especially when there really are solutions NOW. And don’t be fooled by those serious photos of him online or on his book jacket – granted, he writes on a serious topic – but he has a great smile and is quite friendly and approachable.

Engraved Bookmarks - If you enjoy reading, then you'll love using a beautiful bookmark which can be personalized with designs, colors and engraving.

Engraved Bookmarks - If you enjoy reading, then you'll love using a beautiful bookmark which can be personalized with designs, colors and engraving.

Terry McMillan, Author of The Interruption of Everything: You can’t help but be drawn to her. She is funny, real, insightful (and lives here in the San Francisco Bay Area!) On the creative process, she has experimented with typing with her eyes closed so that it removes a layer of analyzing between her brain and her writing, just to allow it to flow without editing it. I loved Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back, so I can’t wait to read her latest one.

The salon was “Woman, Be Wise: Strong Writing, Strong Women“. Authors included Toni Mirosevich, Kathi Goldmark, Susanne Pari as well as McMillan. We laughed the whole way through the salon session with her and the other authors. (Talk about a “feel good” experience! I pitched her book at my group and it was selected for our February reading selection.

Kate Jacobs, Author of The Friday Night Knitting Club: I’m currently reading her book for my January reading group selection. There is something special about having listened to an author discuss her characters before reading the book – it somehow makes the characters seem more familiar or real. On whether she works with a set outline when writing a book , Kate described her process as something like being in a car on a road trip with all of her characters and having a general direction in which they are headed, but not knowing ahead of time what twists and turns or detours they might take. Her latest book is Knit Two.

Three Dog Hard Glasses Case - Protect your reading glasses with these crush-proof eyeglass cases

Three Dog Hard Glasses Case - Protect your reading glasses with these crush-proof eyeglass cases

Other authors that were very funny and entertaining were Garth SteinThe Art of Racing in the Rain (a story written from a dog’s perspective that sounds great), Andre Dubus IIIHouse of Sand and Fog and The Garden of the Last Days (for which he had to do research at strip joints (!)), and Mildred Armstrong Kalish – Little Heathens (about growing up on an Iowa farm during the Great Depression), Annie Barrows – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I could go on and on!

Join Book Group Expo’s mailing list so you’ll know when the next one is. (Previous one was in June 2007, so if varies every year.) If you go, bring a friend and enjoy the day!

Please visit my website Kyle Design for more unique Book Group Gift Items, Business Card Holders, Hard Eyeglass Cases, Dog Lover Gifts, Unique Bookmarks, Engraved Money Clips, Gift Ideas for Authors and Writers. We create affordable gift items in hundreds of cool designs and a range of gorgeous colors, plus offer engraving services, too.

Posted in Bookmarks, Books, Business Card Cases, business card holders, Events, Flasks, Glasses Cases, Unique Gifts | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Reading with a 10-Year-Old-Girl

Posted by Kyle Design on January 7, 2009

Lightning Bolt Earrings - Great Gift for Harry Potter Fans

Lightning Bolt Earrings - Great Gift for Harry Potter Fans

Last night, my 10-year-old daughter and I just finished reading the 7th and final Harry Potter book: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, finally, after picking it up and putting it down for six months. We had just finished book six, Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince, (the movie comes out July 17, 2009) last summer (loved it!) when the seventh book came out, and I guess we just weren’t ready to immerse ourselves again so soon.

The 7th book was oddly not gripping in the beginning – we’d read half a chapter here and there, then just not get back to it for a month – and if a book is not grabbing the interest of a 9- or 10-year-old, just try getting her to read it aloud! (Not to mention the roadblocks of the challenging made-up words that even I kept stumbling over!)

Book Lovers Wooden Trinket Box with Open Book Design

Book Lover's Wooden Trinket Box with Open Book Design

Reading is a chance for us to have mother-daughter time alone together. Usually with a book like this – long, many new vocabulary words – the plan is to have her read one page and then I read one (although depending on how tired she is it might be several for me.) We held to no hard and fast rules about who should be reading when – the idea is to enjoy the experience and get it done. If it takes too long, neither of us will be inclined to want to read, defeating the whole point and taking the joy out of reading. And ruining our special time. Terrible thoughts!

Silver Friendship Bookmark - Beautiful Gift for Friends in a Book Group

Silver Friendship Bookmark - Beautiful Gift for Friends in a Book Group

The holiday break gave us the time we needed to really get into the story about the adventures of the three friends – Harry, Ron and Hermione – and although we were good about switching off reading in the beginning and middle, toward the end I was doing most of the reading because it was just so exciting! (“Oh no! –  Yes!! – Oh NO!!! – YES!!!!) The fastest reader prevailed. Neither of us were arguing about the arrangement, although she wanted to read paragraphs here and there, and I encouraged her to follow along with me, pointing out words that had tricky spellings or pronunciations or to confirm she new the definitions.

Vampire Tape Measure - See how much progress your kids are making with reading!

Vampire Tape Measure - See how much progress your kids are making with reading!

Reading aloud is good practice for both of us. I keep my dictionary handy, too. Often, when asked about the fine point of a definition, I wanted to make sure I had it right. Heaven forbid that I teach her wrong! No “bad mommy” here.

We’re glad we hung with the book. Very satisfying. Very done, too.

So I just stepped into the kitchen for breakfast before posting this, and what does my daughter have in her hand? Twilight. Guess I know what book series we’re reading next.

To see more of my unique gifts and jewelry, visit Lightning Bolt Gifts, Book Lover Gifts, Twilight Gifts or Friendship Gifts.

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How to Start a Reading Book Group – What’s Worked For Us

Posted by Kyle Design on April 15, 2008

Book Group Pillbox in Silver with Teal AluminumI started the Moms’ Reading Group over seven years ago with my friend Robbie. She and I were discussing books in my living room one day and we decided we should start our own book group. We had young children and were really feeling the need to make time to read and also to have a designated day where we’d be able to get out without the kids. We mentioned the idea to friends whom we knew enjoyed reading and got a small group together. Here’s what’s worked for us:

Getting Started: Robbie contacted local book stores, and Barnes and Noble generously welcomed us to meet in one of the sitting areas in their store each month, and they even make us a big pot of coffee. Beaded Coffee Cup EarringsIn addition, they list our reading group in their monthly newsletter, and new members have found us this way over the years. We chose contemporary fiction as our main focus, however we will sometimes read a non-fiction book if one peaks our interest. We have about 10 core members, but usually end up with about 6 – 8 members who can make it each time.

Stained Glass and Metal House Night LightLocation: Having the group away from home removes the burden of any one person having to prepare to receive guests. It also allows all members to speak freely without fear of being overheard or interrupted. This works best for our group at this stage of our lives, but certainly is only one way to structure a group. I know most groups meet in a different member’s home each time, Wine Bottle and Glasses Switch Plates in Nickel Silver and Blackand for those who love to entertain and have the time and energy to do it, I’m sure that works great. Some groups make food, chocolate or wine part of the experience, although we only bring treats for our anniversary each year.

Our members are just happy when we can make it to group, whether we’ve finished the book or not. We are a group of busy, active moms, with some who work and others who don’t, and some months it is just tough to do it all.

Another benefit to holding it in a book store is that we are able to quickly find reference material of we want to check facts or find out background information to flesh out our understanding of a subject.

Frequency: Our book group meets once a month at the local Barnes & Noble. We meet at 7:30 p.m., late enough to have gotten home from work or classes and made it through dinner. We have on occasion moved the date when it fell on a holiday weekend or when several members would all be gone, but for the most part stick to the second Monday of each month.

Engraved Custom Bookmarks in Gorgeous Colors and DesignsStructure: Robbie was willing to take on the task of leading the discussion, but when she can’t make it, it falls to me. My contribution, as an artist, is to give each new member one of my handcrafted bookmarks as a welcoming gift. We usually compile a list of questions to get us taking. Sometimes our books have questions in the back, other times we’ll get questions from, others are just ones that occur to us.

We start off discussing the book for about and hour or so. After that, we choose a new book. Holding our book group in a bookstore makes it easier when it comes time to pick our next selection. We all fan out to peruse the bookshelves and tables for books we’ve heard about or to find something new that peaks our interest. Our approach is to have each member pitch a book and then all vote on which one we’re interested in reading. The book with the most votes becomes the next month’s selection, but if it is a split vote, we might make them the next two month’s choices. Usually around 9:30 we conclude the discussion and have time to chat, share pictures or play games.

Robbie sends out a reminder email before each meeting as well as a follow-up one letting everyone know what was chosen for next time.

Include the Kids: Once a year we select a book that we will read to our kids, then bring our kids to our book group to discuss it. We all really want to instill our own love of reading to our children. They are always so excited to come meet the other members and their kids, plus they enjoy seeing exactly what Mom does each month. The discussions have been really fun, and it is especially interesting to hear what all the kids thought and see each family’s reaction to a book.

Our group has been going strong for seven years now and I feel this structure has worked really well for us. I hope some of these ideas will work for you as well. Happy Reading!

If you’re a member of a book group and would like some gift ideas for your fellow members, please visit Cool Reading Book Group Gift Ideas or click any of the photos above to learn more.

Posted in Bookmarks, Books, Hobbies, Parenting, Unique Gifts | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

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