Balloon HQ news for May 1999

Extra, Extra, read all about it! This is the BHQ monthly posting with updates, pointers, current discussions, industry announcements, and generally anything that looks useful to share with the balloon industry.

Tax day slowed us down but this month's newsletter is finally ready for distribution. As you'll see below, the big news since the last newsletter went out is the largest prize give-a-way in Balloon HQ history! Westwinds, Premium Balloon Accessories, and Balloons and Parties Magazine have teamed up and donated over $1000.00 of prizes for our Autumn Wedding Centerpiece Contest. This is something that we are really excited about so be sure to enter. In fact, Premium Balloon Accessories is so excited about the contest that they're offering some free samples to those who make an effort to win the grand prize. See the details below.

As usual, I have a lot more I'd love to talk about. Unfortunately, given how far we fell behind and how much we have to tell you since the last newsletter went out, it's been pointed out to me I should keep my comments down this month and just get to the serious stuff. A number of people have informed me they like my commentaries, so I'll try to get back on track next month. We'll see. Maybe I'll have trouble keeping my mouth shut and announce a new thing or two before the next newsletter.

-LM

The latest article in this series will always be available at http://www.balloonhq.com/bhqnews.

This issue of Balloon HQ News contains the following topics:

Upcoming events mentioned on the lists this month

Conwin's 5th Annual Wedding Symposium

Conwin's Balloon Artist Academy will be hosting its 5th Annual Wedding Symposium on May 15, 1999 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. It will consist of 4 classes taught by Linda Bruce, CBA and Crystal Narramore, CBA. The classes will cover everything from breaking into the wedding market through bridal fairs to new ideas for centerpieces, ceremony and reception decor. In addition, a photo backdrop will be set up to allow for portfolio quality pictures of all the work. Call for a brochure with more details and request a free copy of Conwin's 1999 equipment catalog. (800)877-8889.

Comedy College 1999

Comedy College 1999 is a 5 day conference in Las Vegas, Nevada and Norfolk, Virginia, designed for professional and semi-professional family entertainers. In Las Vegas there are some classes dealing with balloon twisting May 11-15, but in Norfolk on Saturday June 19 the one whole day set aside for balloon twisting workshops. You can attend the entire event or just the one day balloon twisting workshop. Get more details at

http://members.aol.com/comedycoll/main.htm

Midwest Balloon Arts Contest

Attention all balloon decorators and twisters interested in competing: The KC/Midwest Balloon Professionals Association (a non-profit organization) is hosting the Midwest Balloon Arts Contest August 5 - 8 near Kansas City, Missouri at the Independence Center Mall. Trophy's and prizes will be awarded. For more information please visit http://www.balloonevents.com/contest.htm Hope to see you there!

Asia Pacific Balloon Symposium

Organized and Sponsored by Pioneer Balloon Co
Tropical island of Bali. September 27th-30th.
Details available from PBC and their international offices.

Fantasy Event Productions presents CRUISING AND BALLOONING:

October 18th - 23rd, 1999
The 1st Annual Balloon Seminar at Sea! Travel from Miami, Fla to Grand Cayman, Calica and Cancun aboard the Carnival "Fun Ship" Imagination. Attend over 45 hands-on classes from beginning to advanced levels with many of the balloon industry's most effective and knowledgeable instructors. Treb Heining, CBA Bill McFaddin, CBA Bruce Walden, CBA Ann & Lanette Rajski, CBA's Don Dixon, CBA Troy Apprill, CBA Graham & Mary Queen Rouse, CBA's John & Merrill Belpedio, CBA's Kelli Sipp, CBA Linda Bruce, CBA Jeanne Donato, CBA and Gift Basket Designers - Jeanne Gates & Don Morley Enjoy Fine Dining, Health Spa, Nightly Entertainment, Las Vegas Style Casino, Welcome Aboard Rum Swizzle Party, Gala Captain's Dinner, Fantasy Events Farewell Party, Supervised Camp Carnival for Kids & So Much More !! For more info see the Balloon HQ events page at http://www.balloonhq.com/events.html

The All Star Revue II

November 14-17, 1999
Crowne Plaza Meadowlands
Secaucus, New Jersey
Just minutes away from Midtown Manhattan and the Newark Airport. The Revue includes nine regular rounds of classes (lots of hands-on seminars), three bonus classes, seven meals, two parties and a wonderful Vendor Village Trade Show. The room rates are now available but you must mention The All Star Revue. Enjoy the world's "All Star" instructors, speakers, manufacturers and distributors in a relaxed and intimate atmosphere. Call 1-201-348-6900 for reservations at the Crowne Plaza Meadowlands Hotel. (Be sure to mention you are attending the ASR.) The toll free number for more information on the seminar is: 1-888-833-STAR.

IBAC 16

Organized by IBAC Producers and Sponsored by Pioneer Balloon Co
Las Vegas, NV USA. March 1-4th 2000
Details yet to be announced.

More information about some of these events and an updated listing can be found at http://www.balloonhq.com/events.html.

Industry Spotlight

This month we've been featuring photos from the Chicago party show and IBAC 15 on the Balloon HQ home page. If you haven't seen them yet, check them out to see what you missed, or perhaps to be reminded of the great time you had there. But, make sure to visit soon since we already have new stuff waiting to be placed on the web for all to see.

Miscellaneous Ramblings

IBAC 15 sets world records!

More than 1,150 professional balloon artists worldwide attended the 15th annual International Balloon Arts Convention (IBAC), March 10-14, in Rosemont, IL. This was the highest attendance ever in the history of the convention, with delegates from more than 39 countries and 46 U.S. states. 200 of the convention delegates helped construct the world's largest balloon mural. Made with 70,884 Qualatex latex balloons and standing 86 feet high x 58 feet wide, the mural depicted downtown Chicago on New Year's Eve and took a total of 1,300 man hours to construct and perfect.

With IBAC 15 now history, the list was buzzing with talk of IBAC 16 in Las Vegas! We can't wait!

Balloons on TV

On 3/28/99 the The Wonderful World of Disney featured a made-for-TV movie called "Balloon Farm," which was (very) loosely based on the _wonderful_ children's book "Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm." Unfortunately, most of our resident movie critics gave it two thumbs down, describing it as having "no focus or direction." and being "vague and disappointing, even for a children's movie." What was most disappointing about this is that Balloon HQ was actually consulted by Disney prior to creating this movie. We waited anxiously for the results. Oh well. Our recommendation: read the book.

Other uses for balloons

At IBAC, Christopher Horn gave a great suggestion about cutting off the rolled lip from the nozzle of an old or broken balloon and then just using the rolled lip as a rubberband. Now why didn't I think of that?

The allure of balloons

David Davenport writes:

I work as a substitute teacher in 15 different elementary grade schools. I always tell my classes that the three hardest working students, those who show the best effort, will get some kind of a balloon figure. It has been a godsend because many times the teacher will leave me a note saying to watch out for Paul or Bobby because they are the worst of the bunch, or the toughest to keep quiet, but I have found that my reward system has made them the angels of the classroom, and oftentimes, Paul or Bobby gets 1st prize because they try so hard. In fact the teachers will often ask the students which sub they want to have when the teacher will take a day off, and many times the kids will ask for the balloon man because they want to get that reward.

Other Balloon HQ subscribers have reported ways of using balloons in quite a few teaching situations, ranging from science demonstrations to reading programs, not to mention suggestions for teaching balloon art itself. To get some ideas for classrooms make sure to visit http://www.balloonhq.com/faq/teaching.html

Pop lines

Nouveau Balloons

BSA introduced a new color in 5", 9" and 11" latex balloons: Periwinkle, the not-quite-blue, not-quite purple color that is perfect for weddings, special occasions, etc. For more information, contact:
BSA Balloon Supply of America
Phone: 419-289-9508
bsa@natlatex.com
http://www.fooledya.com/cgi/ads.pl?advert=BSA"

As of 3/26/99, Pioneer has a 24" balloon! They are enormous in an arch, look pretty and provide incredible lift! They are a lot of fun to work with and easier to tie than a 16". Price for the 24" latex will be around $15 for a package of 25. They are available in 16 colors: Onyx Black, Quartz Purple, Sapphire Blue, Emerald Green, Ruby Red, Citrine Yellow, Mandarin Orange, Diamond Clear, Dark Blue, Green , Red, Yellow, Orange, Pink, Pale Blue and White.
http://www.fooledya.com/cgi/ads.pl?advert=PioneerBalloon

"Balzac Balloon Ball" by Wham-O http://www.wham-o.com
The Balzac Balloon Ball is a toy that comes with a large balloon that you put into a lightweight, printed, textile cover through a slit. With the nozzle sticking out of the cover you inflate the balloon enough to cause the material to fit snuggly around it. You then tie the balloon off and stuff the nozzle inside. It is a very cool toy. The cover really helps to keep the balloon from popping and when it does the pieces are caught inside the material and don't go everywhere. It comes with the directions of doing things like adding rice, or water, or a coin to change the ball's behavior. One subscriber writes: "I have seen them at Toys R Us stores many times and my four children have enjoyed playing with them immensely, as have I. Definitely a great thing to bring along for party games too."

Chad "Mr. Twisty" Currin met up with CTI, a balloon importer, at the 1998 Toy Show in NYC. When he found out that CTI had never marketed gross bags before, the P.T. Barnum in Chad kicked in and so with partner, Bill "Snappy the Clown" Hart, he formed "Fun 101." We've talked about CTI balloons on the twister list for a little over a year now, but they've always been hard to find. That's all changed now that Fun 101 brought the CTI professional line of balloons to market. The CTI 260C, made in Mexico, is available through Fun 101 in regular assortments, NEON assortments, and bags of metallic silver and gold. If you are looking for additional colors, consider these quality balloons. However, be warned about the NEON 260's: in the bag, their bright, vibrant neon colors look great. Unfortunately when you inflate them they become almost transparent pastels. One of Fun 101's most interesting products are heart balloons from Columbia with six inch long necks, in 15 colors. With that long neck it really doesn't look much like a heart when fully inflated, but it makes a very cool shape for using in other sculptures like butterflies, flowers, helicopters, submarines, etc. Fun 101 also sells round balloons and other products. Check their website at: http://www.fun101.com

We also found a web page that just has to be shared. It offers how-to books on the art of balloon sculpting plus an _amazing_ selection of unique, sophisticated, high quality inflatables (insects, animals, dinosaurs, fighter planes, globes, solar system, halloween & christmas, even furniture.) for the office/home/parties, etc. I have never seen inflatables with the detail that these have... http://www.chazairjazz.com

Even the ZIBI company's web page was mentioned this past month: http://www.zibi.ch/english/intro.html as were as some amazing "Novelty Latex Balloons" on http://www.fineimage.com/balloons.htm

Retro balloons

There was some discussion of a variety of old-time balloon toys. Are you old enough to remember any of these?

We are trying to find out more about some old balloons that were shaped like a clown but really looked more like bowling pins. They had cardboard feet you attach to the balloon. These balloons were discussed a while ago on the twister list and a search of the BHQ twister list archive yielded these URL's:

http://www.fooledya.com/cgi/mfs/03/upto04Sep96/mail.a001Fk

http://www.fooledya.com/cgi/mfs/03/upto04Sep96/mail.a001rq

http://www.fooledya.com/cgi/mfs/03/upto04Sep96/mail.a002pW

If anyone has any more info on these balloons, please post it.

"Wham-O Super-balloons" were a tube of thin plastic, about 1 foot wide and 8 feet long that could be closed at the ends and thrown around. (If this sound interesting, KIPP Brothers, Inc has a similar product called 8 ft flying rocket. stock no nc8773 phone 800-428-1153. Also Group Publishing, Box 485, Loveland, CO 80539 sells what they call Tube-a-Loon but it's only 6" wide and about 6 feet long.)

"Super Elastic Bubble Plastic" was another Wham-O product that came in tubes. You squirted some out onto your finger, rolled it into a ball, stuck a straw into it and blew until you had a balloon. In late 1997 we came across a similar brand of balloon plastic in a tube called "Magic Plastic - the original resealable balloon kit" It is made in England... "an established toy since 1947." You'll find a picture at http://www.balloonhq.com/faq/terms/plastic.jpg

We also came across a brand of balloon plastic in a tube called "Original Dr. Cohn Blase Ball Balloonpaste." It is made in Germany by R. Viegel Spiel-und Sportwarenfabrik Hauptstrabe 58 D-74376 Gemmrigheim. You'll find a picture at http://www.balloonhq.com/faq/terms/blaseban.jpg

Does anybody remember these 1960's balloon games?

If you know of any others, please post about them.

The ever popular and ongoing BHQ photo contest

Congratulations to Jason Gadino, the winner of the "Deflated Balloon Contest." Jason took the grand prize of a Balloon HQ prize pack consisting of educational materials by Larry Moss that included "Attack of the 50 Foot Demon," Larry's balloon fabric CD-ROM (announced in the last issue of Balloon HQ News - http://www.balloonhq.com/bhqnews/march99.html), and "Twisting History," Larry's book on balloon twisting. In addition, Jason gets a cool pair of Balloon HQ Groucho glasses and the ever prized, limited print, Balloon HQ denim shirt.

Second place in this contest was taken by Glenn Coram. Glenn will be receiving a Balloon HQ t-shirt.

We hope everyone had a lot of fun with this contest.

Announcing the BHQ WEDDING CENTERPIECE CONTEST

Announcing the largest prize give-away in BALLOON HQ history! WESTWINDS, PREMIUM BALLOON ACCESSORIES, and BALLOONS AND PARTIES MAGAZINE have donated a bonanza of prizes for an AUTUMN WEDDING CENTERPIECE CONTEST. The goal is to create a wedding centerpiece arrangement incorporating balloons (of any sort) in an Autumn Season motif.

BALLOONS AND PARTIES MAGAZINE and BALLOON HQ are joining forces to promote this event, so with over $1000.00 in prizes up for grabs, prepare yourself for some fierce competition! Anyone may enter, and you may enter as many times as you wish. ** If you'd like to try the NEW Premium Balloon Stems in your contest design, you may obtain free samples ** Entries taken from your portfolio are welcome, as long as they fit the theme and have not been entries in any other contest.

All photo submissions may be used by BALLOONS and Parties Magazine and Balloon HQ, with credit to the creators. Winning photographs will be featured in print and online!

The entry period runs from April 1st to May 31st, voting will take place online at Balloon HQ during the month of June. You've got plenty of time, so send in those entries! See the Balloon HQ Contest Page or the upcoming issue of BALLOONS and Parties Magazine for further information.

The prizes for this contest have been donated by Premium Balloon Accessories, Westwinds, and BALLOONS and Parties Magazine.

GRAND PRIZE
Westwinds EQ-1EC Equalizer, Latex Balloon Sizer
Premium Balloon Accessories Cool Aire Professional Inflator
One Case of Balloon Stems by Premium Balloon Accessories
BALLOONS and Parties Magazine, a 2-year subscription

FIRST PRIZE
Westwinds Dual Mylar/Latex Hose Extension Inflator (Model HGS201)
Premium Balloon Accessories Cool Aire II Inflator
One Case of Balloon Stems by Premium Balloon Accessories
BALLOONS and Parties Magazine, a 1-year subscription

SECOND PRIZE
Westwinds Mylar/Latex Inflator (Model BR74HG)
One Case of Balloon Stems by Premium Balloon Accessories
BALLOONS and Parties Magazine, a 1-year subscription

More information about these prizes is available below.

Westwinds EQ-1EC EQUALIZER Latex Balloon Sizer
A highly precise, easy to use, electric, latex balloon sizer complete with diaphragm inflator, handtight and contents gauge. Get the balloon size you want, over and over again!
Premium Balloon Accessories Cool Aire Professional Inflator
Premium Balloon Accessories Cool Aire II Inflator
Can be run continuously with out overheating and inflates balloons with cool air, unlike competitive air inflators. Easily and efficiently inflates all types and sizes of balloons, including small latex balloons, with its high performance motor.
Westwinds Dual Mylar/Latex Hose Extension Inflator (Model HGS201)
Deluxe foil and latex balloon hose extension inflator allows user to inflate balloons up to 12 feet away from a helium cylinder.
Westwinds Dual Mylar/Latex Inflator (Model BR74HG)
Dual foil/latex inflator with push valve, handtight connection, gauge, tie hook and cutter. Inflate balloons to the perfect size every time.
Balloons and Parties Magazine Subscriptions
The independent source for decorating resources for banquets, parties, special events & holidays. Published bi-monthly and full of ideas.
NEW Premium Balloon Accessories Balloon Stems
Great-looking, fast and flexible support for incorporating small air- filled latex and foil balloons into arrangements. V-shaped sliding collar hides the balloon nozzle. Floral green, silver, gold and black.
** To obtain FREE samples of NEW Premium Balloon Accessories Balloon Stems in floral green, silver, gold and/ or black, call or e-mail Premium Balloon Accessories 800-239-4547 or email hbalpeter@coolaire.com

** To see many wonderful centerpiece ideas incorporating Balloon Stems, visit the Premium Balloon Accessories web site... just go to the BHQ Sponsor page and follow the link.

Entries will be accepted from April 1, 1999 to May 31, 1999
The voting period will be the month of June
All of the contest sponsors can be found on the BHQ Sponsor page at http://www.balloonhq.com/sponsor Click through to the appropriate sponsor's web site for more detail on the prizes.

Good Luck from David, Sheena, Larry, Mark B., Mark Z., and Andrea

Check out the up to the minute contest information at http://www.balloonhq.com/photos/contest/contest.htm

This month's additions to the photo collection

This month's additions to the BHQ online photos include very nice twister photos from Arthur Tivoli. Thanks Arthur. Maybe your great artwork will inspire more contributions next month. Check out the latest pictures in the BHQ photo section at http://www.balloonhq.com/photos/newmonth.html

Locating exactly what you want on BHQ

Some time has gone by since the BHQ home page was redesigned and most of you are becoming familiar with it. Some of you who first wrote us saying that you didn't like the new look have since written back to say that it is easier to use now that you're familiar with it. That's what we were after. We know change can be hard and we're sorry about any confusion that came about early on. We think we've answered your biggest concerns. Some further fine tuning is expected. In the mean time, we've received some questions just over the last few days that should be addressed now.

The sponsor page can be reached from the main page. A few people asked what happened to it. Well, the link is still there, it was just moved to the bottom center of the page. The photo and contest sections are combined in a single link in the left-hand panel on the page.

Keep sending feedback. The site is huge so our major concern these days is to make it easier to use. We'll apologize in advance if we're busy considering your requests and take a while to get back to you. If you're concerned that we aren't answering, you can always send us a reminder. Chances are your request just took a bit longer than we'd like to work on but we really don't intend to ignore anyone.

Recent twister list highlights

This month we're going to start off with a thought provoking quote from The Balloon Mommy, CBWEBER@compuserve.com "the poor parent with the crying child deserves the balloon... more than the child"

This past month we discussed the origins of balloon twisting, what to do with clear 260's, what to make from 160's, pumps and how to carry them, performing at parties, working for agents, and what to twist for different age groups. We all got some new one-liners and new sources of background music. Here's the best:

Performing for the hearing impaired

We had a week-long discussion on performing with balloons for hearing- impaired children. The results boil down to this:

Keep in mind that deaf people are surrounded by hearing people everyday and know how to deal with this. Treat a hearing impaired audience like any other audience, but:

To prepare, go get a book, video, software program, etc., and learn a few quick/easy signs for some of your balloon sculptures. Most libraries have American Sign Language books. I would recommend "The Joy of Signing" for some basic signs. Especially learn how to sign the colors, greetings, thank you, you are welcome, etc. For individual words which will be useful for kids (as opposed to becoming conversational in sign), I enthusiastically recommend the Sesame Street sign language book put together some years ago by Linda Bove. When you are doing balloons the sign for "POP!" is great.

You will find that the children who communicate with sign language are bright & intelligent, have superb fine motor skills and are very quick learners (even the youngest in the group). I've taught the kids how to make a balloon animals with great success. They will be watching every move your fingers make and because of their advanced fine motor skills will follow easily.

When it come to entertaining the deaf or anyone who speaks a different language, let the universal language of balloons come through. Remember, if an entertainer is truly funny and entertaining, it's the performance that makes them entertaining, not the words. Most routines that you normally do with patter can be done silent. Watch Floyd Shaffer sometime. He's a totally silent clown. Just watching HOW he does things is a lesson in the art of silent performance.

Parties

On the twister list this month we discussed balloons and parties ad nauseum. Without rehashing it all here, we'll just point you to Cap'n Denny's two posts,

http://www.fooledya.com/cgi/mfs/03/upto12Apr1999/archive.8695.html

http://www.fooledya.com/cgi/mfs/03/upto12Apr1999/archive.8712.html

and to the Acts, Parties and Balloon Games chapter of the Guide http://www.balloonhq.com/faq

Pumps

Bridgit O'Brien reported on a new benefit of T Myer's 260 Blaster: Using it gives you a great upper body work out, so PUMP ALONG AND FEEL THE BURN!

Markers

EXPO Dry Erase markers are now available in red, blue, green and black with an ultra fine point tip. These dry erase markers are permanent (won't rub off) on both inflated and deflated latex balloons. Additionally, they have a plastic tip (no metal) so they are less likely to pop a balloon.

Gumball balloons

A discussion on the twister list about putting gum inside balloon sculptures resulted in most people strongly discouraging the use of anything edible combined with balloons for children. We stress to the children and the parents to keep balloons away from their mouths. It would be confusing to a toddler when you give them a balloon; tell them to keep it out of their mouth and let them see a gum ball inside. Even with a pumped balloon there are health concerns (sanitation, latex reactions, choking on a fragment of balloon). There's the fact that the child will have to pop the balloon to chew the gum, or wait until the item is deflated, exposing the child to latex fragments. If you must give away gum as part of your character, consider making balloon figures holding a wrapped piece of gum, or use gum tucked between the twists for weight.

Double stuffing 260's

If you want to use Qualatex silver 260Q's but want a silver that's more grey than clear, double stuff with a black. Yvonne (YUMMY) Brogdon developed and teaches a double stuffing technique that came from two needs: a way to keep the inside balloon from sticking to the sides of the outside balloon, and a way to do it quickly and easily in public if i wanted to without having to carry around a long skinny wire or knitting needle.

You need a LONG straw, like the ones that you get with a 44 oz drink at your local convenience market and the two balloons you're going to use. You can stuff 160's into 260's this way or you can use two 260's.

  1. Slice the straw lengthwise (an exacto knife from the inside out works really well) and run your finger down the straw to 'open' it up.
  2. Lay the inside balloon inside the straw. Make sure about 1/2 inch of the uninflated end protrudes from the bottom of the straw. You'll find there is a very small length of balloon left at the top, the nozzle end. Almost the whole balloon fits in the length of a long straw. The straw gives the outside of the balloon a smooth surface so there's nothing to stick.
  3. Close the straw around the inside balloon. Overlap the slit sides, so it's skinnier than it was originally. This helps to insert it more easily.
  4. Insert the straw/balloon fully until you can feel the straw at the bottom.
  5. Hold the uninflated end of the inside balloon through the uninflated end of the outside balloon. While holding the ends, pull the nozzle end of the outside balloon out of the straw at the top.
  6. Still holding the uninflated ends, grab the straw at the top and remove it from the balloons.
You can reuse the straws until they're all bent out of shape.

With twisted sculptures made from double stuffed balloons, you often want some of the bubbles to be the inside color and some the outside color. Yvonne also has a great method for popping the outside balloon WITHOUT popping the inside balloon with scotch tape. Once you make your creation, take about a 2 inch strip of scotch tape and tape half of it onto the bubble whose outside balloon you want to pop. Make sure it adheres well. With your hand on the part not taped onto the balloon, snap the tape away from you and the balloon in a quick downward motion. The tape takes off the first layer of the balloon and leaves the bubble in tact. It works probably 99% of the time. Remember it's a quick snapping technique.

I'm a travellin' man...

Compartmentalized balloon cases make a great way to carry entertainer balloons to a gig. Set one up on a tripod and it becomes a classy looking table. If you are looking for a case, two case manufacturers were mentioned in this month's discussions:
Sammy Smith (352) 357-2665 SPSPub@aol.com
Bob Markwood (323) 257-4433

Recent decorator discussions

This past month we discussed outdoor balloon sculptures, gift box releases, wedding decor, frames for letters, column bases, balloon weights, the California Law, proms, mirrors for table decor, pricing, advertising, customers supplying their own balloons, cutting Foam-Cor, and more. Here are some random snippets, but the rest of the best will eventually make its way into the "Balloon Sculpture Decorating" chapter of the Guide to Balloons and Ballooning at http://www.balloonhq.com/faq

Attaching Toppers

You want the balloon at the top of a packed garland column to hold up straight and proud. An easy way is to duct tape the neck of a large balloon right to the column pole and snuggle it tightly into the set of duplets beneath it. If the top balloon is a 18 inch or smaller, a little rubber cement does the trick. Filling the top balloon with helium instead of air will also help it to naturally float straight.

Alternatively, Marvin and Penny Hardy developed a method that employs a "rubber band action" to attach 16" to 3' balloons in a tight fitting way: Tie two uninflated 260Q balloons together at each end, forming an "O." Hold both sides of the "O" together and make one loop at the mid point. Pull the tied neck of the 16" to 3' balloon through the loop and tie all together. You should have two half-size "O's" attached to your large balloon. Now pull the two large "O's" over the top of the packed garland and push them toward the center of the pole, hiding the 260's within the structure. Snuggle the large balloon tightly into the set of duplets beneath it and you're done.

A new twist...

Need a string of pearls arch for your daughter's "Wedding-Barbie?" Start with 18 gauge wire and bend over the ends to eliminate the sharp points. Insert the wire into a 260 and inflate half way. The first twist is a tulip twist making sure to capture the end of the wire in the twist. Then continue making small round bubbles along the wire and pushing them back up into the previous one. The tension of them pushing against each other will keep the bubbles from untwisting. When coming to the end of the wire, use the last bubble to twist latex around the wire, just covering the end. Then pinch twist the last bubble, pop it and tie off. With the wire inside to maintain the shape, this is a natural for table decor.

Dissolving 4-pack Garland

The pasta method works well for small to medium sized arches. Basically you take 2 lines and feed them through tubes of pasta. Color code the ends of the lines (e.g. one red line and one black line). I tend to use ziti or rigatoni.

The tubes don't have to be pasta, but they do have to be biodegradable to use in a release. Indoors (with an air-filled balloon drop) you'd want to find something that would be soft and eye-friendly to use. Please DO NOT be tempted to use short pieces if plastic balloon stick. Not good for the environment and not good for the professional reputation of our industry as a whole.

After you have the tubes on your lines, attach your balloons (helium-filled for a release) by tying or twisting around the tubes. (Note: If you twist the balloons on, make sure the tubes are long enough so the cluster won't slip off... this could trap the tubes on the line). When the arch is completed, secure both ends of both lines. When you wish for the garland to dissolve, have one person at each end of the garland release/cut one cord and pull the other (e.g. one person pulls red, the other black). When the cords pass by each other (hopefully at the top of the arch) the arch separates and becomes 2 columns... which dissolve cluster by cluster as the cord is removed from their center.

Advertising

Pioneer offers a great deal of advertising material to CBA's but until all the big players in the balloon industry band together and give us a national ad campaign, we need to think and act on our own. Pioneer has produced an ad and made it available to QBN chapters for use in their local advertising. QBN chapter members have chipped in to buy magazine space and run these ads successfully.

Printed balloons

In this month's discussion on where to get printed balloons and balloon printing machines, two sites were identified: www.balloon-express.com and www.balloonsforless.com

If you sell printed balloons too, don't blame us that you missed this chance for a free plug... Next time contribute to the discussion, or at least send a note to one of the BHQ editors to let us know you're out there.

Hi-Float tips

Make sure to inflate balloons treated with Hi-Float a couple of hours before the event so the Hi-Float has time to dry inside before actually using. That way if the balloons pop, nothing gets slimed. When drying the balloons it is very important that you attach a ribbon immediately and secure the ribbon down to a weight. Don't just let the balloons float up to the ceiling because they will invariably wind up floating sideways. This causes wet Hi-Float to pool on one side of the balloon as opposed to pooling at the neck, giving your balloons a heavy side that will affect the look of your decor.

Rentals

Renting party supplies can be lucrative, but you should consider adopting a company policy of renting your balloon equipment to reputable balloon pros ONLY. NEVER rent out your professional balloon equipment (base plates, etc.), to laypersons if you are not doing the balloon work. I have had people ask to rent my professional equipment and I look at them sweetly and say with a smile on my face "I can't tell you that! It's a trade secret!" The hardware that you use is part of what you have spent money on to learn! Without the right hardware, nothing works. Just be super sweet while you tell them "No." Emphasize the term "company policy." It comes across a little softer, like the decision was made by a third person (the company). You would really love to oblige, but it's against company policy. Drats!

Quotes and Proposals

Don't give quotes without having first seen the site. And there is nothing wrong with charging for a proposal that is going to take a lot of time to put together. We say "If you would like a more thorough bid I will be happy to meet with you for a one on one consultation. There will be a nominal advance charge of _________ for this consultation service. You receive a certificate that can be applied as a credit on your account when you place your actual event order. This helps us reserve our time, attention, and creativity to help plan the very best possible event for you. Would you like to schedule a morning, afternoon or evening appointment? Would ________ or ________ fit your schedule better? This type of presentation prevents people picking your brain for your competitors or at least compensates you for some of the time involved in helping your competitors design their marketing strategy and gives you a more professional image and presentation. You don't antagonize your serious customers who have difficulty making choices but you don't give away the store either. It communicates that you are a serious professional who strives to meet the individual needs of your clients.

However, that said, don't tell the customer that you need to visit the site and measure. Why? You don't want the customer to think that you are unfamiliar with the popular event venues. We ask the name of the venue so that we can "check the specifications" of that venue from our computer records. "You would be surprised how many weddings we've done at the city zoo." We find this impresses them more, as they begin to wonder if there is a venue in this city that you HAVEN'T decorated previously. It's building that perception in your customer's mind that your company is very experienced - knowledgable - stable - venue data at your fingertips - true pros! And if the customer asks you about the carpet colour in the Plaza Hotel, and you aren't familiar with it ..... don't say you don't know! Say, "Our CBA Stephanie usually decorates that venue, I'll check with her later." You hope they'll ask, "What is CBA?" Get what I mean? If you take your car to a mechanic, do you want to hear him say that it's the first time he has ever worked on that model Volkswagen? If we discover the venue to be new to us, then we (quietly) make an appointment to go do the measure and take notes.

Chats

There are Balloon Pro chats on Sunday night at 10 PM EST on AOL, as well as chats in the AOL workplace on Mon, Tues, Weds and Sun night. They range from Getting Started in the Business to Event Decor to Event Planning. There's even a whole area on Weddings. To find them type "Event Planning" as a KEYWORD. You will find a chat schedule, message boards and a monthly newsletter. But you need to be on AOL to access them.

Outside AOL, Mitch Bruntel holds Wednesday night chats at 8:45 on ICQ, not IRC. What is ICQ?? ICQ stands for "I seek You", and is similar to AOL's "IM" or the "Netscape AIM" but also will allow offline messages to a particular ICQ user. In order to participate in these ICQ chats, you need to do the following:

  1. Get the ICQ program
    for a PC: http://www.download.com/PC/EdFeature/CurrentFeature/0,15,0-1306-1,00.html?tt.icq...fea1306
    For a Mac
    http://www.icq.com/download/
  2. Install ICQ, then Register your name in ICQ.
  3. Once you have your ICQ #, send a message to Mitch Bruntel at 288674843@pager.mirabilis.com saying you're interested in joining the chat.
  4. Come to the chat room Wednesday night at 8:45

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This BHQ newsletter has been compiled by the Balloon HQ editors.

The Balloon HQ web site can be found at http://www.balloonhq.com.