Thursday, July 12, 2018

Confetti Dots Centrepiece Idea and the New Confetti Dots Deco Bubbles

Centrepiece design by Sue Bowler, CBA.

Everyone loves the NEW Qualatex® "Confetti Dots" Deco Bubbles! They are a fabulous addition to the Qualatex Bubble range.

As we all know, confetti balloons are extremely popular and are perfect for so many different occasions! I love to make confetti-filled Bubbles, especially when I have a specific colour request, or if I am matching decor that I have made. However, these new "Confetti Dots" Bubbles are so quick and easy to use and make a fabulous addition to balloon arrangements.

I created this fun, air-filled centrepiece using the Plexipoles System that has been designed specifically for balloon professionals to make centrepiece designs. PlexiPoles are made from a high-quality acrylic and plexiglass product. The flat base, and elegant clear design of the poles are simply perfect for the job! 

To complement the "Pink Confetti Dot" Bubble, I used a range of Pink 5" and 11" latex balloons and added some Silver Chrome and Grey balloons, too - I felt that this would bring a little bit of sophistication to my design and that fabulous shine that Chrome balloons always do! 

For those of you who are wondering how I have 5" Silver Chrome balloons, they are in fact 11" Silver Chrome with a 5" balloon inside to help create the right size and shape.

I used some pink dot cellophane to bring a little texture to my design. Firstly, the cellophane was a perfect match and it can be easily made into "picks" that can be carefully inserted into the gaps between the balloons. The easiest way to make the "picks" is to cut your cellophane or tissue into squares, then use a balloon straw to find the centre of the square and give it a little twist. I like to glue my picks into place when I add them to my design to ensure that they don't fall out. I also added a few tiny balloons, which I felt gave a little more detail to what is fundamentally a very simple design. The tiny balloons are simply the tips of 260Qs that I have inflated and secured using glue dots. If you are wondering what I have used on the pole, it is a small length of cellophane that I have wrapped around.

Printed cellophane is very popular and quite easy to find. I recommend using your favourite search engine and type "Polka Dot Cellophane."

Here are some more fabulous design ideas using these wonderful new balloons.

I love this personalised "Pink Confetti Dots" Deco Bubble balloon - I also love the eye-catching video that LaylaRai created to show it off to their customers! This balloon and video were made by Events By LaylaRai in Stanford Le Hope, England. 

Here is another great design that was made by Ben Escalante, of Deco Globos, in Xalapa, Mexico. The "Colourful Confetti Dots" are perfect for this birthday balloon, with added tassels and a complementary base.

And finally, this beautiful Baby Boy Confetti Bubbles and Clouds by Cam Woody, CBA, of Pioneer Balloon Company.

Cam has complemented her balloon arrangement with the 11" "Oh Baby" latex balloon inside the Bubble. This Deco Bubble balloon has been designed with a clear central window to allow any message latex balloon to be seen easily.

These balloons are now available from your Qualatex Distributors, so don't delay, and add them to your design range - your customers will love them!

24" "Blue Confetti Dots" #57789
24" "Pink Confetti Dots" #57790
24" "Colourful Confetti Dots" #57791

Happy Ballooning!


Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Free Photo Editing Apps That Make Your Snaps Instagram Worthy

I expect you know this scenario well! On Saturday I was working on a wonderful outdoor balloon installation. The sun was shining, and I knew that there would be some great photo opportunities. When I had almost reached the event venue, I realised that I had forgotten my camera! Thank goodness for mobile phones, but can we get a good enough photograph that is Instagram worthy?

I see many balloon-related photos on Instagram, but so often the photographs are dark and grainy or they are not particularly eye-catching. The important thing to remember is this: Instagram is a totally visual platform. And, the more visually appealing your photos are, the better they’ll engage your followers.

So once I returned to my office, I decided to check out some of the free or almost free photo editing apps that are available, to see if I could transform some of my snaps into professional-looking Instagram photographs.

Snapseed Rating 3.8

Google's photo-editing app Snapseed (Android, iOS) is one of the best photo-editing apps around, thanks to the incredible control it gives you over your pictures. It has nine editing tools for tweaking your photos, including a brush tool that lets you selectively adjust exposure, saturation, and colour temperature, and a healing tool that lets you remove blemishes or erase objects from photos completely. Snapseed also has its own set of filters (sorted into 11 different categories, including Retrolux, Noir, and Glamour Glow). Unlike Instagram, Snapseed lets you fine-tune filter effects by modifying attributes like brightness, saturation, and texture strength.

Here are three versions of the same photograph, the centre image is the original image
the first and last have been edited using the Snapseed app.

Snapseed was the first of the apps that I downloaded, and I immediately enjoyed playing with its very simple to use features.

You start by clicking on OPEN. You can then choose where you want to select your photograph from.

  • Open from Device
  • Camera
  • Open latest image 

Once you have selected the image that you want to work on you can then start to play with the tools. You have three options:
Start with looks. Looks is very much like Instagram filters and gives you a number of options of how to alter your photograph. 

If you click on TOOLS, you have many other fine-tuning options, including the usual crop and rotate, but so many other very exciting options - you need to check them out!

Finally, once you have made your changes you have the option to:

  • Share...
  • Open in...
  • Save with changes that you can undo.
  • Save a copy
  • Export 

This was my favourite editings of this photograph. This function was selected in LOOKS and is called "Morning". It really makes the balloon colours "pop" and stand-out from the background, I think this will make a very eye-catching Instagram photograph!

Another great feature before I leave Snapseed is the text tool. It's a quick, and stylish way to add your name to your photographs (see photograph at the top of this post).

I decided to compare Snapseed which is a free app with Pixelmator, which was a highly recommended editing tool that cost £4.99 - so not very expensive, but is it worth the price?

Pixelmator - Rating 3.2

My first observation with this app is that it is not as simple to use as Snapseed. Sadly, I am a bit of a "download and go" sort of person and if I cannot make it work for me in the first few minutes, I give up. However, having paid my £4.99, I decided to work a little harder to get things going.

So to start, you need to click on the + button on the top left-hand corner of the screen.

This will allow you to:

  • Create Image
  • Get a photo from your iCloud Drive
  • Get a photo from Photos
  • Take a Photo
If you click on Create Image, it gives you some great options:
  • Basic
  • Collage
  • Frame
  • Card
  • Poster
  • Photography
  • Vintage
So I thought that I would try out the Collage option as this was not an option on Snapseed. I chose Grid as my collage design.

I definitely enjoyed playing with this function, but again, I think it will take a few goes to perfect and get the best from it! I love how you can display a selection of photographs from the same job and edit each photo as you go. The problem that I incurred was how to position the photo within the frame, as I would have liked to reposition them a little - more practice, Sue! 

Each photograph within this collage has been edited to enhance the colours
to give maximum impact.

This is a tool that is only compatible with IOS devices - iPhone, iPad, and there is also a very comprehensive Mac version - Pixelmator and Pixelmator Pro.

Having made the investment I will certainly learn to use Pixelmator, but I think for quick editing, my go-to will be Snapseed.

Here are some more great free apps for photo editing. I will get round to trying them all over the next few weeks and months! 

VSCO Cam (iPhone, Android) - Rating 4.4 
Adobe Lightroom (iPad) - Rating 4.3 
Instagram (iPhone, Android, Windows Phone) - Rating 4.8 
Pixlr Express (Android, iOS) - Rating 3.9 
Flickr (iPhone, Android, Windows Phone) - Rating 4.3 
Photo Editor by Aviary (Android, iOS, Windows Phone) - Rating 4.5 
Repix (Android, iOS) - Rating 3.4 

This blog post was assisted by a great article on Gadgets 360 -  Best Free Photo Editing Apps for Android, iPhone, and Others - to read the whole article, click HERE

You will have hours of fun playing with these fabulous apps, and I look forward to seeing some of your amazing photographs on Instagram! 

Happy Ballooning!