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Celebrating 40 Years of Selling Kaleidoscopes.

New Year and New Thoughts As 2022 begins, I am astonished to think about where I am now and how I got here. This year 2022 marks the 40th year of selling kaleidoscopes for my families income. My professional history started as a twelve-year-old becoming interested in stained glass as I watched a teacher cut glass. How time flies, was that over forty years ago? Dad and I attended stained glass classes together which began a lifelong interest in art. My college Bachelor of Fine art degree in Glass and Fine art Painting was financed with family-run, stained glass businesses which started at various travel destinations in the Midwest such as House on the Rock in Wisconsin, Red Wing, Minnesota, Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota and historical Galena, Illinois. We found our niche in kaleidoscopes as we sold stained glass in these retail shops. We started making an article that I describe as, “I built businesses selling something no one needs! … but wants! ” should be added. We found that we couldn’t keep these kaleidoscopes in stock and so started selling other kaleidoscope artists’ works. Who wouldn’t admire Henry Bergesons’ “Turniton” https://www.kaleidoscopestoyou.com/newtubyhebe.html or the Kittleson’s lovely “Paula’s Rapture”? https://www.kaleidoscopestoyou.com/pa1.html Note these items are only available until sold since they are limited editions. We met many professional kaleidoscope artists as members of an organization called the Brewster Society. Thanks to my father, who taught Small Business Administration at the University of Wisconsin, we were blessed to have his internet and management expertise. Through internet sales, we soon started selling kaleidoscopes worldwide from a small town in North Central, rural Manly Iowa. My Dad advised me to develop my own line of kaleidoscopes, which resulted in production kaleidoscopes rather than limited editions so far, such as the “Color Spirit” line https://www.kaleidoscopestoyou.com/kaleidoscopes-color-spirit-kaleido-co.html or the “DIY Discovery Kaleidoscope Kits” https://www.kaleidoscopestoyou.com/discovery.html. I would like to develop my own limited editions and have begun to do so. The world-wide pandemic of 2019 (and still going as of 2022) has affected my business in that I have been unable to receive all the inventory that I have ordered. Shipping costs have also increased which is a factor in pricing kaleidoscopes. One thing that has helped my business is being able to offer custom cut, specialized “first surface mirror” to companies needing special precisely cut sizes. An Australian company that manufactures medical Devices found my services. I can custom cut these specialized mirrors for them. My goal this year is to continue to provide good service to existing and new customers and hopefully survive this seemingly long pandemic! Happy new year 2022!

Long time, no post!

Karl and I are finally getting around to fixing a few things and bringing them up to speed!  That means our blog too!

While Facebook and Twitter are fast and furious, it’s nice to come back to this format of the blog where I can write more in depth and offer deeper details.  If you’re just catching us after a long break, we have developed a What’s New section on our website so it makes it easy for collectors and regular customers to come see what is fresh and new from artists as well as New Artists!

 

What’s New in Kaleidoscopes

And if you’re doing a double take because I’m actually getting a blog post written, we have a double view or binocular teleidoscope for you to see and experience now!

Leif Colson is creating these creative binocular style teleidoscopes that you can wear and enjoy!

Wooden Binocular Teleidoscope, in Maple By Lief Colson of Liefer's Look.

 

Goose Eggs and Kaleidoscopes

Every once in a while, I have some unusual items cross my desk.

 

Today, it’s goose eggs.  Not just any goose eggs, but goose eggs that have been meticulously cleaned, preserved, painted, lacquered and built into kaleidoscopes by Frank Casciani.

 

These kaleidoscope eggs are as extravagant as a modern day Faberge egg.  And as intricate inside with the fabulous 3 mirror system that creates a 5 point star within a kaleidoscopic quilt of color.  Frank selects gold along with regal colors of red or green for these marble and goose egg kaleidoscopes.

 

Frank has even created an interchangeable crown to hold an elegant art glass marble that you can exchange for different marbles of the same diameter.  Watch at this link where I demonstrate this elegant marble Kaleidoscope by Frank Casciani.

Gearing up for the Holidays!

Here at Kaleidoscopes To You, we are busy gearing up for the holidays by bringing in lots of kaleidoscopes to ship out to you and yours!

 

Kaleidoscopes make perfect stocking stuffers as you can even get the same size and type but in many different themes.  Take a look at the long list of Jazzy Kaleidoscopes.  This way everyone gets a similar size gift but all get different!

These kaleidoscopes also make wonderful party favors for celebrations of all kinds throughout the holidays.

 

And a lovely gift for your host are wine accessories by Vino Strumenti .  Especially when you do not know there preference for wine, these elegant wine tools always add to the occasion and make basic table red wine look and feel exceptional.  Take a look at the redesigned drip catchers too!

 

 

July Kaleidoscope Updates

July has brought heat and humidity to North Iowa.  Everything is very lush and green and as we approach late summer, the corn is tasseling and the grasses are going to seed.

The green growth is starting to put its energies into fruits and seeds.

 

And at Kaleidoscopes To You , we are putting our energies into updating our inventories and website.  When we have new pieces, we upload a link to the What’s New Section.  Here you can find our most recent uploads such as new designs by artists like these beautiful Egg Kaleidoscopes by Frank Casciani or vintage pieces that are new to us.

 

We are also catching up on some videos for demonstrating our kaleidoscopes as well.  Catch our most recent videos on our YouTube Channel.  Some fabulous pieces by Fumie Ino have recently arrived including some of her beautiful Japanese lacquerware.

 

Please enjoy browsing and seeing what is new this July at Kaleidoscopes To You.  We know that we enjoy browsing while relaxing within the comfort of air conditioning when the humidity is 90% and higher.

Spring Break Art and Kaleidoscope Travels

Spring Break for the Schilling Family was defined by One Place.  We were determined to get to Davenport before Tom Chouteau’s exhibit closed at the German American Heritage Museum closed.  Tom has been building large kaleidoscope installations for many years and the GAHC.org was able to incorporate some of his installations along with the history of German immigrant Charles Busch who produced Bush kaleidoscopes in the 1800’s in New England.

 

Here is a TripAdvisor  Review of Tom Chouteau’s Kaleidoscope Exhibit.

 

And here is a link to the antique Bush kaleidoscope we lent to the exhibit.

Vintage Bush Kaleidoscope

We were honored that we could lend such an important piece of history to this exhibit.

Another stop in the Quad Cities for us was the John Deere International Headquarters.

John Deere International Headquarters

Being architecture fans, we needed to experience the Eero Saarinen designed building and landscape.  Our kids had a great time climbing into the new tractors on the showroom and we really enjoyed the historical displays of letters and documents from the early years of the company.  The front building is designed as an elegant showroom and museum open to the public with a skyway over to the executive building.  The highlight was when the Docent realized we were there for the art and the architecture.  He took is into the lobby of the executive building where 4 stained glass panels were installed that illustrate the 4 seasons of agriculture.  These panels were from the original offices down at the Rock Island Arsenal.

Then.  He simply said “Follow me.”  And we followed back to the public space of the showroom.  And up the stairs at the north end.  Then he asked us to wait while he found the light switches.

Then we experienced the Auditorium designed by Eero Saarinen with original artwork by Grant Wood.  The auditorium feels like an elegant harpsichord with the white upholstery, wooden armrests and angular turns.

A large tryptich of fields by Grant Wood is the focus of the landing as you climb the steps to the auditorium.  Great and deep texturing in the plaster base creates the feeling of prairie grasses.

The lobby features 6 drawings by Grant Wood from 1936, the depths of the depression and Dust Bowl.  Drawn in pencil on Butcher Paper, these simple portraits still celebrate the promise of the bounty of the land.

It was a quick 2 day trip, but we hope that we continued to instill in our daughters the love of art in travel.  So even when we’re travelling, you can always find us here.

Easter Baskets! Kaleidoscopes Fit right IN!

Easter Egg Hunts and Easter Baskets.  The best part of being a kid at Easter.  Eggs and Candy everywhere and an early chance to get outside.  As you get older, like those middle school and teenage years, the thought of getting up for sunrise service doesn’t sound as fun.  But the joy for hunting for plastic eggs filled with chocolate eggs inside only lasts a few years.  Of course, I cannot resist a peanut butter filled chocolate egg. By the dozen. But if you are looking for an Easter idea without the risk of cavities or a sugar crash, think about a colorful kaleidoscope.

At Kaleidoscopes To You, we have many styles that are inspired by the oval shape of the egg perfect for an Easter Basket.  For the ultimate Easter surprise, look at the Faberge inspired kaleidoscope eggs by Frank Casciani.

http://www.kaleidoscopestoyou.com/eastergifts.html

Kaleidoscope Easter GiftsFor a moderate price but still an elegant look for an Easter Egg, look at the Rosewood egg kaleidoscope N & J Enterprises.

 

For the best interpretation of Easter within a kaleidoscope, enjoy sharing a Cross Embellished kaleidoscope necklace. An elegant statement of jewelry with a metal cross with beautiful colors within the kaleidoscope.  The joy of the risen Christ is all around us but a tiny bit is also contained within a kaleidoscope.

Kaleidoscope Quiz: Which Kaleidoscope Should You Buy?

So you want to buy a kaleidoscope, but this is your first time and you’re not sure which kaleidoscope is right for you. No worries! Take our kaleidoscope quiz to find of which kaleidoscope is perfect for you.

Kaleidoscope Quiz

1. Fill in the blank. “In my spare time I enjoy ___________.”

A. Listening to the latest album by my favorite band/musician.

B. Reading a book by my favorite author.

C. Painting or drawing my latest masterpiece.

 

2. What’s your favorite color?

A. I prefer shades of yellow, orange and red.

B. I prefer neutral colors, such as brown, white, black, and gray.

C. I prefer bright colors, such as shades of purple, red, blue, and green.

 

3. Choose the adjectives that describe you best.

A. Clever, tame, loud, and shy

B. Old-fashioned, brainy, curious and calm

C. Talented, adventurous, bright and colorful

 

Mostly A’s: You love music and you embrace this love in all you do. A musical kaleidoscope is the perfect fit for your personality. These sensational pieces of artwork will keep you cool and collect, and you’ll enjoy the delightful music each kaleidoscope produces.

Mostly B’s: You have a taste for the old-fashioned and feel like you should have been born in a different time. A wooden kaleidoscope will go well with your calm personality. Display one of these beautiful pieces of artwork on a table by your favorite reading chair, and enjoy it whenever you’re reading a book.

Mostly C’s: Your life is a work of art and so it everything in it, which is why a stained glass kaleidoscope is the ideal kaleidoscope for you. These colorful works of art will entertain your imagination for hours!

Drink from Your Horn-of-Plenty with Wooden Wine Accessories

Are you looking to add a unique and creative touch to your Thanksgiving Day table? If so, you should seriously consider one of the handmade wine accessories on sale at KaleidoscopesToYou.com. We have a marvelous selection of wooden wine accessories that will decorate your holiday table from the moment you pop the top on a bottle of your favorite wine to the time the very last drop leaves the bottle. These items are not only beautiful to look at, but extremely functional as well.

Whether you’re looking for particular handmade wine accessories in a certain color or simply browsing the site, you’ll be captivated by the elegance of these wooden wine accessories. From dark ebony hand tuned wine drip catchers to oak wooden wine foil cutters that are spring-loaded, Kaleidoscopes To You offers something for nearly all tastes and price points. Wine accessories from KaleidoscopesToYou.com are treasures that will last a lifetime, and will stand out from all of the other products that are simply lost on your dining room table.

Make this year’s Turkey Day memories last a lifetime by sharing wine with friends and family with a beautifully crafted wooden wine accessory!

Value of Kaleidoscopes

Value is a concept I’ve been thinking about recently. Value is not the price you pay but what greater benefits you receive for the product for which you parted with some of your treasure.
We are often asked what creates a great value in a kaleidoscope. Value comes from quality materials, good construction, an aesthetic quality that is personal as well as the rarity of the piece.
Some friends were Facebook chatting about a $50 butter dish from a high end kitchen retailer. For $50, you could select a Spirit Kaleidoscope by the Collier Studios. This scope creates great value by using ABS plastic for the housing and FeMo clay for the interior object cells. No skimping on the mirror system or optics however and you have a great scope with a 2 mirror system.
by the Colliers”]Charcoal Spirit Interior Image by the Colliers[/caption]

Spirit Kaleidoscope by the Colliers

Spirit Kaleidoscope by the Colliers

For $100 (or a bit more), you can get a decent pair of shoes. For that same price, you could select a fabulous stained glass kaleidoscope by a number of artists such as Kathleen Hunt, David Sugich or Joanne Jacobs.

For $200, you can have a great meal in a great restaurant with fabulous wine. Or you can have an extraordinary signed, unique piece of art by Judith Paul or kaleidoscope jewelry by the Healy’s.

Healy Sterling Silver Kaleidoscope Necklaces

Healy Sterling Silver Kaleidoscope Necklaces

So value is your own personal judgment as to what is precious to you. Here at Kaleidoscopes To You, we search out the best values in scopes so that you have the best balance of optics, art and price in your kaleidoscopic experience.