Monday, December 30, 2019

Wishing Everyone a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous 2020!

With Christmas and the holiday festivities already over, it's now time to focus on the exciting New Year that lays ahead! 
I don't know about you, but this year has literally flown by! Spring Fair 2019 seems like an eternity ago! Now, I'm surprised to find myself working on the 2020 window display designs, as well as planning some exciting new design classes that I will be teaching in 2020! 

Did you make any New Years resolutions? Maybe 2020 is the year that we need to be kinder to ourselves. Let's start the new decade with a positive frame of mind, and try and live our lives to the full! 

 

I would like to end this year by taking the opportunity to thank all those who help me with the Very Best ™️ Balloon Blog! To the lovely Lexi who ensures that my posts are coherent and grammatically correct, and to everyone who has contributed some amazing content to blogposts over this year! I have been writing the blog since 2011, and am excited to see that it still remains one of the top ballooning resources, with views reaching over 2 million this year! 



I know that 2020 will be another fabulous year for ballooning education! Some truly sensational events and classes are being offered around the globe, and I hope that I get the opportunity to meet up with some of you then! 

Happy New Year!

Sue
www.suebowler.com
#suebowler


Friday, December 20, 2019

BACI, Balloon Arts Convention Italy brings its Magic to Milan!

Qualatex® sponsored event BACI - Balloon Arts Convention Italy is back! We in the balloon community are all very excited and looking forward to 20-24 March, 2020 in Milan, Italy! 

For those of you who may have heard about BACI, but are not sure what it's all about, I thought that I would share a little of this events magic with you.

Though it's held in Italy, BACI is actually an International ballooning event, with many delegates attending from around the world! This event features classes  taught in both Italian and English.








BACI is probably most famous for its exceptional large sculpture competition in which many of the teams are led by world-renowned industry instructors! The first 13 teams have been announced; however, there are still a few spots available! If this is something you are interested in doing, don't delay registering, as I am sure that the remaining spots will be snapped up very quickly.








With the theme of Fashion & Design, teams are allotted 21 hours total split over two days, to complete their masterpieces.
Team Captains:
CHRIS ADAMO, Australia
ALBERTO NAVA, Italy
ALBERTO FALCONE, Spain
ALESSANDRO PATANè, Italy
SARA ZAMPINI, Italy
YANA SAVITSKAIA, Ukraine
OLGA BARANOVA, Russia
GILLES RINCKEL, France
CARLO VAVENOTTI, Italy
CHIARA FERRARA, Italy
FLORENCE BURET, France
SERGIO VALENTE, Italy 
FRANK JESCHKE, Germany


If you are not quite ready to build your first large sculpture, but would still like the opportunity to work and learn from one of these incredible captains, either contact them directly, or indicate your interest when you register as a delegate for this event. Each team is limited to a maximum of 10 people (including the captain) and places are allocated on a first come first serve basis.


Vadim Shushkanov working on his design in the Balloon Figure competition.

Here are some other excellent competition opportunities that you can register for:



I have added a link to each of these categories so that you can check out the rules and other important information.

Based on personal experience, I always recommend having a go at the competitions at an event especially when you have the opportunity! Competitions provide a new learning curve, and will bring a whole new excitement to the event! Even if you don't win, you will learn a great deal from the experience. My own teaching career was kicked off when I began to actively enter competitions!I


To see past competition entries from this event click HERE, or check out the short video below from BACI 2013! 




BACI's education program offers an exciting and comprehensive choice of classes, appealing to both twisters and decorators. These classes will be taught by some of the industry's best instructors, including Chris Adamo, CBA, from Balloons Online, Sydney, Australia, in his BACI debut and a rare teaching trip to Europe. 








And of course, there will be a welcome reception and a magical Gala Party and Awards Ceremony too! 


It was a fabulous Alice in Wonderland theme at the BACI 2017

Can you take your CBA exam at BACI? Of course and what a great place to take it! The CBA exam will be held on Sunday 22nd March at the NHOW hotel, from 8:30am- 12:30pm! If this is something that you would like to do, please contact Carol Dack at Pioneer Europe, who can give you full details: carold@qualatex.com. All those who pass will receive their certificates at the Gala Party and Awards Ceremony.




How much does it cost?

The event price is €395 + vat 22% (€481.90) if you register by 31 December 2019.
From 1 January 2020 the price is €445 + vat 22% (€542.90)

To confirm your registration,  a full payment is necessary. Accepted payment methods are credit/debit card, PayPal or bank transfer. 

Special promotion: If there is more than one delegate per company, a special price of €350 + vat 22% (€427) will be offered.

The cost includes the class registrations & materials, two lunches, the opening ceremony cocktail, and the themed Gala night dinner.

What are the competitions costs?
Big sculpture €13 (vat included) per person (€10.66 + vat 22%)
Column €13 (vat included) per person (€10.66 + vat 22%)
Centrepiece €13 (vat included) per person (€10.66 + vat 22%)
Delivery bouquet €13 (vat included) per person (€10.66 + vat 22%)

Balloon figure €13 (vat included) per person (€10.66 + vat 22%)

If you would like any further information regarding this event, please check out the FAQ's or visit the website www.bacitaly.com or contact berenice@balloonexpress.it

BACI is a platform intended for those with a passion for balloon art, and for sharing and exchanging energy with balloon artists from around the world. It is an unforgettable experience that will be an excellent resource in improving your style, techniques, and increase your sales! We hope to see you there! 

Happy Ballooning! 

Sue
www.suebowler.com
#suebowler









Thursday, December 19, 2019

How to Make Crepe Paper Fringing Step-By-Step Video by Chris Adamo, CBA.


Crepe paper fringing has been one of the hottest trends in Australia this year says Chris Adamo, of Balloons Online in Sydney, Australia! They are colourful, vibrant, and are the perfect compliment to balloon decor! 

If you are like me - when you see a photograph of something beautiful, you instinctively want to have a go at it, but you're not sure the best way to go about it. 



Chris Adamo CBA from Balloons Online Australia recently made a step-by-step video (see below) that takes away all the mystery, and shows how he creates these beautiful fringes.



Thank you Chris for sharing this great technique with the Very Best® Balloon Blog readers, I am sure that many of us will be putting this into practise very quickly! 

Happy fringe making! 


Sue





Thursday, December 12, 2019

Is it too Early to Talk About Valentine's Day?




Valentine's Day is probably one of the biggest events for the balloon and party industry. This period offers many opportunities to sell fabulous balloon arrangements and romantic balloon decor! However, February 14 is notorious for sneaking up on us and catching us unprepared after the torrent of events for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve events and parties! 


33" - "Red Rose Bud"







Valentine’s Day is a key commercial event for many retailers in the otherwise stagnant months of January and February, yet according to The Balance, consumers are spending more than ever before on this romantic holiday! 


If you have a balloon shop or store, now is the time to start planning your merchandising opportunities and window displays. Visual merchandising plays a critical role in converting shoppers into buyers. If you are looking for inspiration Pinterest is an excellent tool for creative retail display ideas; use these keywords:

  • Valentine's window displays retail
  • window displays retail store fronts Valentine's Day 
  • Valentines window displays

If you don't have a store, there are still many opportunities for you to demonstrate your expertise, especially in the decoration of other retailers windows, hotels, restaurants and car showrooms! Begin preparing your social media campaigns now to maximise your sales opportunities - remember Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest are your "store fronts" and can open the door to many new opportunities! 






If you're looking for on-trend design inspiration, check out the fabulous article in Issue 4 of Balloon Images - 10 Ways to Say I Love You with Balloons.

This article is packed with all sorts of exciting and informative content: Instruction sheets, candy cup ideas, how-to ideas to make on-trend Jumbo Fusion arrangements, a how-to for simple grab-n-go displays of small air-filled treats and much more! 



To see the exciting range of 2020 Qualatex Valentines balloons check out the Valentine's Day & Early Spring Catalogue available on the Qualatex website - click HERE for a direct link.


Please note that not all balloons are available in all territories. Ensure that you view the catalogue that is applicable to your region.


39" - "Adorable Sloth" 

A few tips on how to keep your displays fresh and long lasting! 

When making air-filled displays use nitrogen rather than air for longer lasting balloons. Nitrogen is an inert gas; it is also know as dry air, and it keeps the balloons plump and full with little or no reaction to temperature change, perfect for window and other long lasting displays! If nitrogen is not easy to find, I will often double-stuff balloons (by inserting one balloon inside another and inflating as one) that I am using in displays, this helps to enrich the balloon colours, and also helps to keep the balloons looking fresher for longer. Another great tip is to use Hi-Float® in air-filled balloons that you want to last, such as 160Q & 260Q's that would can lose their plumpness within a few days.


To keep your latex balloons shiny and clear, use Balloon Shine™️, which helps prevent oxidation and add a long-lasting sparkle to your decor.


Use Qualatex® Bubble Balloons™️ and Deco Bubbles. These can float for up to 5 weeks! 



22" "Everything Valentine's"
Finally, how about challenging yourself to learn to twist this beautiful Classic 160Q Rose!






Don't let Valentine's Day creep up on you! If you haven't already started, get planning now! 

Happy Ballooning! 

Sue
www.suebowler.com
#suebowler

Friday, December 6, 2019

You've Been Framed - Luc Bertrand, CBA, Shares his Linear Photo Frame Perfect for New Years Parties!

Once again, Luc Bertrand, CBA, of WaW Balloons in Vichte, Belgium has very kindly shared one of his designs with the readers of the Very Best™️ Balloon Blog! Who would have thought it would be so simple to use the Northstar Balloons™️ L letters to make this quick and original photo frame! 




Step 1.

You will need:
 2 - 34" Northstar Letter L - available in Gold, Silver, Magenta, Blue and Rose Gold.
Glue Dots & Stretch® Balloon Tape 
5" Qualatex® Latex Balloons and other finishing accessories 
Attach two corners with the shown tabs using any kind of glue dot. Luc likes to use Premium Balloon Accessories® Double-Sided Tape Dots #33156 - available through some Qualatex Distributors. Luc   then re-enforces this connection with Stretchy Balloon Tape on the tip of the balloon.


Step 2.

Slide a VERY loose 4-balloon cluster of 5" latex balloons inflated to approximately 4" in-between the two foils in both of the connected corners.
Make a loose triplet of three organically sized 5" balloons and wrap these around the two most external balloons from the first cluster. This keeps the first cluster in place and gives an “organic” touch.  Voila! - that is the basic frame shape!

Style as desired 

  • Add the date or year to the  top - such as New Years 2020!
  • Add someone's initials - this could be for a wedding, anniversary, Valentine's Day or other personal event.
  • The frame can be filled with a message 18” foil as shown below.
  • Be creative... add your own style and detailing! 



When using the small 16” letter, these can be used to make a base for an air-filled design - Luc used this concept for his fairy design below.


Once again, a huge thank you to Luc for sharing one of his brilliant design concepts with the Very Best Balloon Blog! 

Happy Ballooning!

Sue



Thursday, November 28, 2019

QuickLinks Santa Mural 2019 Update

Several Christmases ago, Luc Bertrand, CBA, of Waw Balloons, Vichte, Belgium, very kindly gifted the readers of the Very Best Balloon Blog with a recipe to make his QuickLinks™️ Santa Mural. Today I decided to play with the design a little, and I made a few tiny tweaks, and sprinkled in a few little organic additions. 





The basic frame for this design is much the same as Luc's original (see design and details below). The only real changes are the addition of the fillers. In the original design, Luc does not fill the gaps between the links, I just wanted to see how it would look if I made these changes, and I really liked the result! For the hat, I used single balloon fillers, but for Santa's hair and beard, I used random-sized cluster (organic) fillers, which gave it a more realistic textured beard! 
This image was created using Chris Adamo's fabulous Balloon Design Tool

This fantastic Santa design is quick and easy to re-create. When made with 6" QuickLinks, it's ideal for a window display, however, if you step up the sizing  and use 12" QuickLinks your design will have an even bigger impact - perfect for a Christmas event!  


To see Luc's original Santa Mural design and recipe, click HERE.





Thank you Luc for the original design, and I hope that you like the few little additions that I made! 


Happy Ballooning!

Sue
www.suebowler.com
#suebowler






Monday, November 25, 2019

FAN-tastic Balloon Decor - Perfect for New Year's Celebrations and Elegant Black-Tie Affairs!





I don't know about you, but I am a little bit in love with gorgeous decorative paper fans! They easily add an incredible visual texture and a touch of elegance to your balloon decor.






With New Year's Eve not too far away, you might be looking for a little "FANcifal" inspiration! So, I have selected a few design ideas that you could present to your clients.


Black, Gold, and Silver New Years Eve Balloon Wall by Sue Bowler
Balloon walls are always an exciting addition to any party. They make a fabulous dramatic backdrop that can be used as entrance, stage decor, or as a superb photo opportunity! 

The balloon wall above was created with Onyx Black Qualatex® 12" QuickLink™️ balloons inflated to 9" using the Grid technique. The gaps are filled with a selection of  7" & 11" Chrome balloons, 11" plain & prints and Microfoil® balloons as shown below. The addition of the stars and the Happy New Year foils to the wall adds another level of depth and dimension.


18" "New Year Black & Gold Fans" Microfoil Balloon
20" "Glittergraphic" Silver & Gold Stars
11" "Star Patterns" Onyx Black & White with Gold print
11" Chrome Gold & Chrome Silver

Below is another balloon wall that I recently made for a client's "Great Gatsby" theme party. Using the same Grid technique, this time I used just Chrome Gold and Chrome Silver 7" & 11" balloons to fill the spaces. The end result was perfect, it looked perfectly elegant and classy! Despite the Roaring 20's vibe, this wall would work perfectly well for a New Year's Eve party!



Centrepiece design ideas can always be a little tricky. Here's one that I made recently that would work perfectly for this style of decor! 

This elegant organic style design was made using a Plexipoles base and pole. I added two beautiful paper fans that complemented the "New Year Black & Gold Fan" Microfoil balloon perfectly! 





I recently designed a new style of balloon column that I named the "Artistic Sculptured Column". Only a few days after making this design for a client I was teaching at the Qualatex Event Mexico 2019 and decided to show my design to the delegates with a few small tweaks and changes from the original design. And the extra additions of the fan's paid off, as they worked perfectly with this design! 






To give you some idea of the scale of this column, I added a photograph with me standing next to it. 




All the designs shown above are air-filled, which is beneficial during this uncertain time of helium availability!

Don't forget - you can find more inspiring ideas by visiting the Qualatex website - click on INSPIRATION and then BALLOON DECOR, use the OCCASIONS tab to select New Year.

Happy Ballooning!

Sue
www.suebowler.com
#suebowler













Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The Seven Wonders of the 7" Chrome Balloon

Gold Balloon Sculpture by Sue Bowler
Artistic Gold Sculptured Column design by Sue Bowler, CBA.


What isn't there not to love about the mighty 7" balloons! I have absolutely loved working with them! They inflate to a beautifully rounded shape, which is perfect for the popular organic trend! With size options ranging from 3.5" to 7", you get an exquisitely shaped balloon every time.



Now that we have had a few months to play with these remarkable balloons, I thought that it would be a good time to share some of the reasons why we love these balloons so much! 







When Jackie Ochitwa, CBA, of With A Twist Balloon Creations, Alberta, Canada made her beautiful Princess design using Qualatex® Chrome™️ 260Qs and the Chrome 7", she was completely blown away by the transformation of her original design. She knew instantly that these extra-special princesses would be a hit with her clients! 







"The versatility of the 7” chrome is amazing. It’s one of those balloons that I wonder how I got by without it.  It’s the perfect accent to any decor piece. They add the perfect amount of sparkle and shine and I love that you can get so many different sizes from one little balloon."




If you have had the opportunity to play with Chrome balloons, you know that they are much softer than regular latex, which makes them easier to manipulate. Check out the video below in which Jackie demonstrates how to make a beautiful distorted balloon heart using a 7" Purple Chrome balloon.










Rainbow Design by Sue Bowler CBA




I recently used these fabulous balloons to make this beautiful rainbow, or as I have renamed it - the #Chromebow Arch 

Everything rainbow will continue to be a hot trend for 2020 - which makes this elegant, yet joyful decor perfect for a birthday party or other special occasions!














As someone who absolutely adores colour, I love that we have the ability to create unique custom colours when we place a 7" Chrome balloon inside a 5" balloon. Although the fit is not perfect, it still works well!


70th Birthday Surprise Arrangement by Sue Bowler
Chrome balloons inside Jewel Tones is probably one of my favourite custom combinations. However, I have recently been using Chrome inside Pastel Pearls and that effect is striking too!  


The design on the left is an arrangement that I made for my brother-in-laws 70th birthday. I covered a round base with a Jewel Ombre Microfoil™️ balloon. I added a box, filled the box with lots of chocolate treats, then attached an assortment of Jewel-Chrome (another made up name) balloons, that spilled over from the box onto the base! To complete the design, I added Jelli balloons to make the number 70 and a few tiny gold bubbles!




If you would like to learn how to cover a base-board, check out my recent blog post: 

Fabulous NEW Jelli Balloons Design Inspiration - With Step-By-Step Design Instructions


Zoe Adam-Jones, CBA, of Jazz Training, Queensland, Australia, has really enjoyed developing designs and techniques with the new 7" Chrome size.


"I really like the versatility of 7” chrome. 
The introduction of this size is what inspired me to try the lace trim technique around foil balloons. I have always loved to pre-stretch 11” chrome and twist into organic bubbles, however the 7” size allowed me to create perfectly round bubbles to achieve a new level of detail on the trim. 
I also use this size inside Deco Bubbles. Chrome adds elements of class and sophistication to designs and the 7” size works really well in Bubbles."
Here are a few of Zoe's fabulous Bubble designs:


Happy Birthday Bubble Gold and Black by Zoe Adam-Jones


Father's Day Gift Hot Air Balloon Design by Zoe Adam-Jones

Alex Ventura, CBA, & Elle Ventura, CBA of Pacha Balloon Creations, Ontario, Canada are also passionate about the 7" Chrome balloons! 

"We love the wonderful 7" Chrome. It is just the perfect in-between size to make the impact required for the trends our industry currently creates. They are perfect for sculptures, classic decor, and organic style decor, they truly add that wow factor, and finishing touch to all of our designs!"
Here are some of Alex and Ellie's designs using their favourite balloons:  

























The 7" Chrome balloon is proving to be the must-have balloon to accessories your designs! The more I work with them, the more excited I get! They truly transform my designs to a whole new level. If you have yet to use them I recommend that you give yourself time to play soon, especially as Christmas and New Year's Eve events are the next big ballooning events! 

A huge thank you to Jackie, Zoe, Alex and Ellie for sharing their ideas and beautiful creativity! 

Happy Ballooning! 

Sue

www.suebowler.com
#suebowler