Thursday, June 28, 2018

Wear Your Heart With Pride By Guest Blogger Stuart Davies, CBA


PRIDE Parades are all about love, equality, and happiness. One of the symbols that has been adopted by many is the Rainbow Heart!

This is not an ORIGINAL design. Although different, it has its origins from the “Puffed Heart” design  Sue Bowler posted in the Very Best Balloon Blog a few years ago. The main change is that it has been extended to enable a regular strip of six colours needed for the rainbow. 






This design is very versatile and can be created with either 6" or 12" Qualatex® Quick Links. It can be made bigger or smaller based on your needs. Adding it to a pole would make a fantastic parade piece, to a column for room d├ęcor, or even hung from a ceiling! A smaller version could also be used as a large table centrepiece.







For those of you who work with modelling balloons, it looks great woven with 260Qs or 350Qs. It is a relatively straightforward weave, even with six colours. I have tried it, and I made mine about 18" wide using 1.5" bubbles. I am sure those more skilled in the art of twisting and weaving could reduce the size below 10" - there's a challenge for someone! 
This heart is quick and easy to make, and regardless of size, it shouldn’t take much more than thirty to forty minutes from start to finish using an automatic air-inflator such as Conwin's Precision Air or Premium's Twin-Air Inflator




I used Chris Adamo's Quick Link Calculator to map out the theoretical look first, and below is a representation of what it looked like. The 11" round balloons on the outer edge are actually Quick Links.


As with the original "Puffed Heart" design, it is made up of two layers and then brought together with one final chain. In this design, I used 105 - Quick Links plus 102 - 5". To fill in further you could use additional 5" or 11" duplets (depending if you used 6" or 12" Quick Links) to close the gaps left in the x-grid Quick Link structure.

In the image below the greyed-out balloons are the sides shown in the image above. There is a single chain connecting side one and two together. The rounder images are Quick Links; I was being lazy when doing the design and it was the only way to show that there was a single balloon connecting two points.

My way of completing would be to make both sides first, then tie these together at the same points around the sides all the way around, and then connect the chain on the outside edge using duplets of 5" rather than weaving or tying it in. 


After only five years of developing and growing his small family-run balloon business, Stuart Davies, CBA, of Beyond Balloons in South Wales, U.K., has already established an enviable client list. Last year Stuart very generously shared his experience working with Walt Disney International to create fabulous interactive decor for the Pride London Parade made entirely with Qualatex® balloons! To read this blog post, click HERE.





To read "How To Make a Puffed Heart Using Qualatex Quick Link Balloons - Click HERE

A huge thank you to Stuart for sharing his fabulous design with us today!


Happy Ballooning!

Sue

www.suebowler.com







Thursday, June 21, 2018

World Cup Fever Is Here Until The 15th of July - The Parties Are Only Just Starting!

World Cup fever is upon us with 32 countries battling it out for the most prestigious accolade in football. As the competition intensifies, the parties will too! Here are some winning design ideas that will help set the scene.

"Football" versus "Soccer" - both correct terms, but as I am from the UK, I will refer to the game as football ⚽️.



One of the top-selling designs of Luc Bertrand, CBA, of WaW Balloons in Vichte, Belgium, is this fabulous Quick Link Column using his Q-Block technique topped with a Qualatex® 36" "Soccer Balls-A-Round" balloon, and of course, he uses the Belgium "Red Devils" colours! 





Game-Winning Goal

I love this Arch design. It is perfect to customise using team colours for the Microfoil® Stars!



Chrome Gold Football Trophy

This tassel-filled Chrome Gold trophy makes winning party decor. Once again, the tassels can be customised using team colours.

Designer Alberto Falcone, CBA, Balloon Lab, Verbania, Italy.










Dynamic Football Column

The diametric design of this Column will delight the guests at their World Cup party!
Designer Eve Antonello, CBA, Pioneer Balloon Pioneer Balloon Company, Wichita, KS, USA.




Superstar Football Columns



I love this fabulous Arch designed by Amanda Armstrong, CBA, Top Hat Balloon Werks, Mission Viejo, CA, USA. There are downloadable instruction sheets available for QBN members - visit www.Qualatex.com.




Fantastic Football Column

Score big at your next football party with this simple, yet effective Column featuring the giant 36" “Soccer Ball” Microfoil® 






As an homage to his beloved Belgium team, Luc created this fabulous "Red Devil" sculpture for his store and encourages his customers to take a selfie with it!




World Cup Arch by Luc Bertrand
Luc Bertrand's World Cup window display





For more great design ideas, check out the "Score Big With Qualatex" newsletter - click HERE.


The World Cup may have already started, but the parties are  just beginning! Be prepared and let your customers know that you can create truly fabulous balloon decor by showing off your designs in your store windows and through your social media channels, too!




Happy World Cup!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Silver Balloon Wall Installation





I really love to work with Qualatex® Starpoint and Taper balloons. There is something really elegant and a little different about these balloons - they are perfect for making balloon walls!




A few weeks ago, I was approached by a brand development agency who wanted me to build two balloon installations using silver square balloons to create an "immersive walkway." The client had been inspired by Andy Warhol's "Silver Balloons" exhibit that he first made in the 60's! The silver square balloons were hand-made - in fact, they were known as "floating Metallic Pillows." 

After further discussions with the client and a computer-generated visual image, we agreed that I would create two Starpoint and Taper balloon walls. These balloon walls offered the fabulous shiny effect that they were looking for. Plus, we added a little visual movement within the walls by positioning the sections so that it created a slight wave rather than being totally straight. 




Today, I am going to share with you some simple steps on how to make these fabulous balloon walls!

Firstly, I created a design on my computer for my client to see and approve. This also functioned as my working design sheet on the day. This is really easy to do. You simply go to www.Qualatex.com and download the balloon images that you want to use. I love the fact that they save as a .png file, which means that it does not have any background to the image! I then simply added and arranged the balloon images in a WORD document to create the design of the proposed wall. 


Each wall consisted of forty 40" Silver Starpoint balloons and seventy-seven 27" Silver Taper Balloons.

We found it easier to make the wall in smaller sections rather than trying to build the wall in one go. We connected eight Starpoint balloons together using a cable tie gun before inflation, making sure to not to connect the valve points. We tied these after inflation.




Connecting the valve points after inflation.






Once we had prepared all the sections, we connected them all together. You can use a cable tie gun or a scrap of 260Q. Both work very well! 







You can see from this photo how the balloons looked when connected together, several people commented on how they did not look like balloons once they were connected!


The first section of wall made - sharing our work-space with some amazing vintage dummies.
To inflate the foil balloons we used the Premium FoilPro™. This machine is designed for easy, hands-free (using a foot pedal) inflation of foil balloons as well as latex and balloons that require higher-pressure. The great thing about this inflator is that it has a special nozzle that provides the correct inflation pressure for foils, with no risk of damaging self-sealing valves.




Each wall was made up of five sections as shown above. Once all the sections were prepared, we connected them together.


Here is a view of the wall from outside - we had to make sure that it looked good from both sides!



This was a really great project to work on. We learned a lot on the way. Needless to say, that the second wall was made in half the time of the first wall! The client was really happy and gave us great feedback! 
"We loved working with you on this project and want to thank you for doing such a fab job,. Everyone loved the installation!"

A huge thank you to my team, Nicci Rene and John Bowler. And thank you Nicci, for the great photographs!

Happy Ballooning

Sue
www.suebowler.com 














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Monday, June 4, 2018

Why We Should Ban Balloon Releases

This is a highly emotive topic for the balloon industry. There are those balloon professionals who no longer support, or condone, nor facilitate the deliberate release of balloons into the atmosphere, and those who believe that when conducted properly, and with the right materials, latex balloon releases are harmless to wildlife and the environment.

But I would like to start this post with a few thought-provoking words from Chris Adamo, CBA, of Balloons Online in Sydney, Australia.

"Our industry is on the brink of a new era. We really do face the risk of loosing our jobs and our wonderful community through misinformed policy makers. We need to accept the situation and take proactive action to future proof the balloon industry. Banning balloon releases and educating the public on best practice latex disposal is something we all can decide to do, something we can all agree on and start today so we can once again concentrate on the positive story that balloons so naturally exude." 

So what is all the fuss about?

Many environmentally conscious organisations and private individuals expressed a real concern on what harmful effects latex balloon releases might have both as litter and to wildlife through ingestion.

This concern has extended well beyond the environmentalists and is now one of the hot topics for governments and councils around the world, many who have already banned balloons or are calling upon balloons to be banned. Some talk about balloon releases, whilst others talk about a complete ban of balloons - this is scary! 

It cannot be disputed that balloon releases cause litter - "What goes up, must come down!" 

But are there any substantiated facts as to what actually happens to a latex balloon once it has been released?

A recent report indicates that of those latex balloons that could be traced after a monitored balloon release, approximately 12% burst into small pieces, and 81% were recovered with half of the balloon mass intact. Another study suggests - "Wwhen a latex helium balloon reaches the low temperatures within that 5-6 mile altitude range, it will actually freeze. The elasticity of latex decreases significantly in low temperatures, so the helium balloon that was expanding suddenly becomes incredibly brittle.
What happens next is not the traditional pop that you and I are used to seeing, but instead something simply called “shattering.” The helium balloon breaks in a manner that is similar to smashing a mirror, and all that is left are very small pieces of cold latex that sprinkle back down to the planet (It’s said that these shattered pieces are too small to pose any threats to animals because they are easily passed through the system if ingested.)
Of course, there are exceptions. Variables that can throw a hitch in these rules include poorly manufactured or flawed latex, latex that is unable to expand significantly or expands too quickly, helium balloons that are not fully inflated, or the altitude and climate of the place from which the balloon was released."

Every day we are seeing more and more negative reports about balloons and the environment, and yes, many of them are untrue or unsubstantiated. 
"All released balloons, including those falsely marketed as “biodegradable latex,” return to Earth as ugly litter. They kill countless animals and cause dangerous power outages." - Balloon Blow - Don't Let Them Go

The problem that we have is that most people - the public - cannot distinguish between types of balloons. For them, a balloon is a balloon whether its latex, foils, or otherwise, and therefore any released "balloons" are polluting our planet.

So as an industry, what can we do to change public perception?

I believe like so many other balloon professionals that we need to unify as an industry and show that we are responsible and that we definitely care about the environment, and for that reason, we need to do something positive that proves it. 

There are several groups and organisations that are working very hard to make this happen.


The Pro Environment Balloon Alliance - PEBA, have three main messages;

NO BALLOON RELEASES

Members of PEBA do not support, or condone, nor will they facilitate the deliberate release of balloons. PEBA is happy to work with any authority (local, state, or federal) in supporting any legislation calling for a ban on the deliberate release of balloons.

PROMOTE THE CORRECT DISPOSAL OF BALLOONS

Members of PEBA will continue to educate their clients, venue managers and the general public, by all possible means, in the correct disposal of balloons and strongly support BASA's "Pin it and Bin It" campaign.

INFORM AND EDUCATE
PEBA will actively promote the positive environmental aspects of balloons, while presenting a balanced view to members, the public and any authorities, on all matters pertaining to balloons and the environment.

http://www.peba.com.au/#


The European  Balloon and Party Council - EBPC mission statement 

Don't let go - we love the environment too!


"We have requested that our members do not release balloons and we urge the public to 'Don't let go'. Please read our tips on our 'How to handle balloons' page and dispose of balloons responsibly."





Don't let go
EBPC's position on balloon releases;

Balloons are a unique much-loved product and are considered irreplaceable in what they offer. Over the last few years, the industry has seen changes in consumer viewpoints and perceptions related to such products. Although these changes and increased participation have surfaced in the last few years, the rise of social media platforms and technology has enabled better reporting of such viewpoints and perceptions.

To comply with the EBPC mission statement, “To educate and promote the fun use of balloons and party products safely, ethically and in respect of the environment”, and as a responsible organisation shaping our industry, we recognise the impact of our products within its marketplace. This monitoring, along with our corporate social responsibility, has led the council to pioneer new thinking within our industry on how balloons should be handled in respect of the environment, which has led to an agreement that ‘the EBPC does not support balloon releases’ as we wish to protect the environment from unnecessary litter. While latex balloon releases are visually appealing, the resulting deflated or partially inflated balloons that return to the ground is visually offensive to many, and we must respect this. This is becoming even more important as local authorities across the world are introducing penalties for balloon releases on their land or property.

The EBPC provides a united front to protect and grow the industry by promoting and facilitating best practices through the coalition of its members across the EU. We look to all members to support our stance in this good cause and encourage promotion of this positive message with respect to the environment.

What's happening in the animal world?

We cannot say for sure how many animals are affected by balloon releases. There are many reports of the same instances. However, during research at EBPC in 2016, we have identified less than 6 cases since 1885 where evidence has suggested balloons to be the cause of an animal death. This was in line with the findings of research by DEFRA in 2013.

Unfortunately, we have also found evidence of misleading claims and repeated instances of the same photographs, or pictures that have been doctored and used for bad publicity of balloons. To reiterate, we love the environment and wish no harm to any form of life.

Don't let go – our message to consumers is clear


We are an evidence-based organisation and only work with facts. If you would like more information about anything on our website, please get in touch.

https://ebpcouncil.eu/the-framework/balloon-releases




Balloon and Party Industry Alliance - BAPIA
"BAPIA has taken the decision to no longer support the release of balloons into the environment. This decision has been taken based on the feedback from our members who have told us overwhelmingly that they feel balloon releases are not good for the environment and that they would totally support this decision. We would ask all members of the public to follow this lead and don't let go of helium filled balloons as it can have a negative effect on the environment. We know that our members will be happy to discuss alternative creative options with their customers. Enjoy balloons responsibly!"
www.bapiaonline.com

At this time, we still have a choice, and whether you join PEBA, EBPC, or BAPIA, and follow their lead and choose not to release any balloons is your decision. But as Chris  Adamo and many others are saying, our industry is on the brink of a new era, and to be honest we need to change with the times. And as Chris said to me - "things that once were considered okay to do are no longer considered acceptable - remember sitting on a plane where people smoked or traveled in a car without a seatbelt?"


Happy 'Responsible' Ballooning!

Sue
www.suebowler.com

Resources: 
"Helium balloon: What happens when you let go," by Kathi Ledidenon 13 August 2015,
Mass Latex Balloon Releases and the Potential Effect on Wildlife - Stephan Irwin 8-2012