Sunday, October 27, 2019

Hoops, Beautiful Hoops! - Inspiring Design Ideas

White with Greenery Wedding Wreath by Sue Bowler
From tiny to giant, hoop and wreath designs have become increasingly more popular within both balloon and floral markets. As they continue to pop up on the wedding and party scene, these impressive works of art can act as stunning ceremony backdrops, as reception decor, or as unique staging for photos.

This very pretty Pink, White and printed
Diamond Clear hoop is perfect for weddings
and baby showers. 

I have actually been creating hoop designs for a while now, long before the organic style became the hottest trend! My first hoop designs were primarily constructed using the precision of Classic Decor style, which I still enjoy using quite a bit. And while I do also like building organic style decor, I still consider the basic elements and principles of design. For example, the balloons should be in  proportion to the size of the frame. How we use colour and space is also important, as getting this wrong can result in a haphazard-looking mess.

If you want to make a smaller hoop design, this can be done using hoola-hoops. Another option for smaller hoop designs is actually a recent discovery of mine, using wire hoops. You can find wire hoops like the white wire hoops that I used for the "White with Greenery Wedding" featured at the start of this blog post from Oasis Floral Products . The Ivy Garland and Peony flowers are also from Oasis Floral Products.

I occasionally will use the Structured Organic style to create hoop and wreath designs. Structured Organic style is done using a combination of the classic technique to create the hoop, then adding an organic element to the design afterwards. I really like this style as it adds a level of formality to the design without it looking too structured. 

To make larger hoops, you can purchase pre-made metal hoops, which are perfect for balloons, flowers and greenery. There are some truly inspirational designs on Instagram, just look under the hashtag #balloonhoops shown below.

One of my favourite hoop designers is #balloonilicious

Another alternative to metal hoops is to use round, heavy duty PVC conduit that is available in hardware stores. You can usually buy it in 12ft (3m) lengths, and easily connect them together using compression joints. I recommend making hoops that use approximately 14.5ft (4.5m) of conduit. However, it should be noted that these are not as strong as the metal hoops, and therefore cannot support too much additional weight such as flowers and greenery, without distorting the roundness of the hoop. The rainbow hoop below was made using PVC conduit.

This fabulous "Rainbow Hoop" design was made by a group of student's
during a Simply Organic's class that I recently
taught in Paduva, Italy.

Here are a few more examples of hoop designs that use florals and greenery to add accents.

Photo credit: Alisha Crossley Photography

To find even more inspiration check out this great article: How to Create and Display Circular Wedding Arches. The designs shown are all floral, but with some creative thinking they could easily be adapted for balloons or balloons with floral accent details.

"Wedding gates. Moon gates. Infinity arches. Circular wedding wreaths. Circular wedding arches...

Whatever you call them, large circular floral arrangements are topping the wedding charts this year..."

I love creating hoop designs, and I truly look forward to seeing some of your amazing creations! Don't forget to hashtag #suebowler so I get to see your fabulous creations! 

Happy Ballooning!


Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Shop Locally Campaigns - Encourage Your Community to Support Local Businesses

If you're like me, you too enjoy the convenience of using the internet to meet your shopping needs. No hustle and bustle, no parking costs, and goods usually delivered within a few days! However, as many of us are aware, this convenience is actually having a huge impact on the High Street. And as a result, we're not just losing shops and stores but also losing the opportunity for a local community too!
With Halloween only a few weeks away, and Christmas not too far behind, it's important that we encourage our local communities to make a conscious decision to shop locally and spend some time and money with the shops, small businesses and independent traders which ensure the community remains a vibrant places to live.

After reading a great post on Facebook about a recent local initiate called Fiver Fest from Tony Davy of Party On Up in Stroud, England, I wanted to know more! 

"The Totally Locally Fiver Fest is a big celebration of Britain’s fantastic small businesses and shops, many run by families or individuals, but ALL contributing massively to the economy of the UK and the well-being of our towns.
Towns and High Streets taking part put on special £5 offers over 1 week, to show the diversity and value of what they sell, and to say thank you to the communities that support them.
It comes from the (now famous) Totally Locally £5 message showing the huge impact of people spending just £5 per week in their local independent shops can have on our High Streets. 
Totally Locally was put together by Chris Sands, an award-winning expert in branding and marketing, based in Hebden Bridge in the North of England.
Totally Locally is not funded, is not a big organisation and is not connected to any organisation or government initiative. It runs alongside Chris’ company, The Good Company, as a stand-alone project. 
Totally Locally is something special. It started out as a small idea in the North of England and has grown into a multi-award-winning worldwide movement. Groups of volunteers in towns and areas use the free kit (yes it really is free), following guidelines and using templates and a full event strategy, and use it to make their town a stronger, more vibrant & resilient place. And all we ask in return in that if they come up with a new idea, it is shared with everyone else. There is now a network or Totally Locally Towns across the world, sharing ideas, working together and making a difference to their independent businesses. It works. It has been proven from Yorkshire to London to New Zealand. A new vibrancy, a spirit of cooperation, and a better High Street."

Does your town or community have a local shopping initiative? Check out Totally Locally for more information - this can easily be adapted for just about any location ! 

But what can you do now? You could easily start your own "Shop Locally" campaign - you might even be able to enlist the support of other local businesses too! 
Christmas can be an excellent time to increase local support and media interest. At a time when people are busily buying food and presents, encouraging them to shop locally can start a trend which will continue into the New Year.

Check out this great Declaration of Independents - packed with great quotes that you could use in your shop locally campaigns or download it from
Every year, especially around Christmastime I make it my personal mission to shop locally whenever possible. Every little counts and will go towards helping to sustain our towns and local independent shops and stores.

Happy ballooning!

#sue bowler

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Cheers! Learn How to "Craft a Brew" with Nick Anderson, CBA! With a Great Video Tutorial!

Here is a super fun "Beer Fest" design by Nick Anderson, CBA, of Zippidy Doo in Brisbane, Australia. This ultra-mod beer glass design is perfect for your next Octoberfest celebration, or for the many Beer Festivals held around the world! 

Nick has very generously shared his design recipe with the Very Best Balloon Blog. 

Beer Fest Balloon Sculpture by Nick Anderson

To see how to make this design, check out the step-by-step video below.

Below is the ingredients and recipe, which features some very helpful tips:

Material List

48 x 12" Qualatex® QuickLinks™️ Gold
12 x 12" QuickLinks White
18 x 12" QuickLinks Diamond Clear
8  x  6" QuickLinks Diamond Clear
48 x 6" QuickLinks Gold
8  x  6" QuickLinks White
5" White
You will also need 11" White balloons to create the 'frothy' part of the beer.


  • Start by inflating 8 x 12" Gold QuickLinks to 10" (keep the sizing consistent within the design), then tie into a ring. Repeat until there is six rings total.
  • Next inflate 8 x 12" White QuickLinks inflated to 10" and tie into a ring. Inflate 8 x 12" Diamond Clear QuickLinks to 10" and tie into a ring.
  • Next inflate  eights chains of 6" Quick Links using 1 x Diamond Clear, 5 x Gold and 1 x White in each chain and connect together in that order. You will use these to connect the rings together as shown in the video.
  • The Beer glass handle, inflate 6 x 12" Diamond Clear QuickLinks to 10". Optional: add 5" balloon clusters in between each of the QuickLinks handles for extra flair! 
  • To create an attractive foam on the beer, finish the design by tying in organic style white clouds of bubbles using 11" White balloons.
  • Optional: to create an even stronger base, add a cluster of four Diamond Clear 10" QuickLinks tied to every second end within the hoop to strengthen the base. 
Ensure that you tie the QuickLinks together tightly as this will guarantee a resilient and strong structure.

A huge thank you to Nick for sharing this great design, I am sure many of our readers will really enjoy making it! 

Cheers and Happy Ballooning!