Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Monochromatic Decor — Stylish, Elegant, and Fun!

When it comes to choosing colours for decor, remember that a monochromatic colour theme can look very elegant and stylish, too. So what is monochromatic?

Monochromatic (mon·o·chro·mat·ic)  - consists of one hue (colour) and its tints, tones, and shades, creating a striking yet subtle colour contrast. A tint is made by adding white, a tone by adding grey, and a shade is when we add black to the colour that we are working with.

Sometimes it is very hard to work with a single colour. This is a fantastic way to create a design that has contrast, but without introducing a second or third colour.

Decor by Sue Bowler, CBA and Nicci Rene of Balloon Bouquets, London, U.K.

I have recently had a few opportunities to create decor with a monochromatic colour theme. 

Decor by Sue Bowler and Nicci Rene

This shades of Pink decor was ordered for a corporate Valentine's marketing event. We were asked to create organic style decor to grow up and around an open cube shape. We used a range of pink balloons from Wild Berry, Rose, Pearl Pink, Pearl Magenta, and Pink, plus we added some double-stuffed balloons using Jewel Magenta and Sparkling Burgundy to create some deep rich tones. We also added some White, Diamond Clear, and a smattering of the new Chrome Mauve. For added texture, we used paper honeycomb and tissue balls.

This was one of my first attempts working on a large scale organic style project. I really enjoyed the experience and believe that it was absolutely perfect for the event. I think that it is very easy to forget the elements and principles of design when creating organic decor — visual balance and proportion should not be forgotten.

My second recent experience working with a monochromatic colour theme was last September when I was asked to design and decorate the Pioneer Balloon 100th anniversary Saturday night party at the Wichita Country Club. My objective was to create elegant decor with a fun twist, and that —I believe — is what we achieved.

Guests were greeted at the entrance with this fabulous photo booth. The frame was made using Black & White SuperAgates®, Black with White Polka Dots, White with Black Polka Dots, Spray Decorated Black and White Polka Dots, and Onyx Black Balloons. The combination of these balloons created fabulous visual texture. We made a White Quick Link balloon wall that was positioned behind the booth to give a neutral background.

I love elegant lines, and this arch and the giant numbers looked fabulous, creating a truly stunning backdrop to the main reception room. It also became a great photo opportunity with people posing through the numbers!

Probably one of my favourite designs from this event was the circular wall. Luc Bertrand, CBA, of wAw Balloons, in Vichte, Belgium, created the original wall for a trade stand earlier in the year and when I saw it I really wanted to have a go making it!  Luc very kindly shared his design with The Very Best Balloon Blog. If you would like to know how to make it, click HERE

Giant balloons are very trendy! With the very high ceiling in this venue, it was the perfect opportunity to create these giant balloon bouquets! Using confetti-filled balloons also added a little glamour and a silver sparkle to the decor! 

It truly was an honour to be asked to design the decor for this party, but as you know, it takes a team to create decor on this scale! I would like to thank everyone who worked with me; Cam Woody, CBA, John Bowler, Amanda Armstrong, CBA, LaDonna Belcher, CBA, Cheryl Skoric, CBA, Eve Antonello, CBA, Syliva Santos, CBA, and Edward  Muñoz, CBA —  you're the best!! 

To see more photographs from this event, visit Qualatex.com - Inspiration - Balloon Decor - Black & White or click HERE. If you are a QBN member, you can download the photographs to use for marketing purposes.

I love working with a monochromatic colour theme. It gives me the opportunity to use the full range of balloons that fall within the parameters of the colour that I am working with, plus all the additional colours that I can create by double stuffing! I love being able to add visual texture by using printed and the new Chrome Balloons™. It's certainly not boring!

Happy Ballooning!


Thursday, February 22, 2018

So What's Hot for 2018? — Part 2

There are quite a few exciting new trends in the party world for 2018. Last week we looked at mermaids, the colour Purple Violet and the marble look. In this post, we will feature few more hot trends.

Design by Sue Bowler, CBA

What is there not to love about Magical Unicorns! These gorgeous Microfoil® balloons are now available in both 14" and 38".

This trend has remained a firm favourite since 2017. If you check out #unicorn on Instagram showing more than 7m posts, you can see that this is a trend that appeals to both children and adults, so we should make sure our decor appeal to both.

I recently created a unicorn theme window display and took the opportunity to design something that had big visual impact. The Fashion SuperAgate® are such fabulous balloons and work so well with the Unicorn theme. I also added in Chrome 260Q flowers and some gold confetti-filled balloons, both of which added richness and visual texture to the design.  

Display by Sue Bowler.

Here are a few more inspiring ideas working with the Magical Unicorn balloon.

Design by Luc Bertrand.

Luc Bertrand, CBA, of wAw Balloons in Vichte, Belgium created this "Cute and Quirky Unicorn" design using Quick Link Balloons®.  He also added a cluster of Pink Violet RainbowAgates at the Unicorn's base and for its hands. I love how Luc has used 260Qs to create a rainbow style tail.

Display by Cam Woody.

Cam Woody, CBA, of Pioneer® Balloon Company designed this beautiful "Unicorn and Magic Wands" balloon bouquet. 4" Stars on cups and sticks make the perfect magic wands and truly add value to this design.

Rainbows are still trending! According to Instagram, it has over 21m posts! It is often linked with the unicorn theme and therefore works perfectly together for party decor.

Rainbow Arch by Sue Bowler - design by Dante Longhi, CBA.
This beautiful rainbow arch was inspired by Dante Longhi. We are currently teaching this design in our "What's Hot Right Now" course around the UK and Europe. It's such a fabulous design to make. The end result is stunning! 

Here are two more rainbow style arches to inspire us and our customers.

Not strictly a rainbow, but the use of colours in this fabulous arch could easily represent a rainbow. This arch was created by Eve Antonello, CBA of Pioneer Balloon Company, Edward Muñoz, CBA, of burton and BURTON in Athens, GA, USA, and Silvia Santos, CBA, of Party Planet in Pompano Beach, FL, USA. This stunning entrance arch was part of the decor created by this fabulous trio for the "100 Years of Celebration" party held at Pioneer's headquarters in Wichita, KS, USA.

"Sunshine Smile Face Rainbow Arch" - I Love this 6-balloon rainbow cluster arch by Cam Woody. 
It truly is a beautiful rainbow with a cloud nestled just off centre. There are full downloadable instructions for QBN Members. Just click HERE!

And finally, Rose Gold - another trend that just keeps on growing! 

Rose Gold became the metallic colour of the year in 2016, and you might have noticed that this colour is still everywhere! Fashion, make-up, accessories, jewellery, of course, and also for party and wedding décor, too! 

Chris Adamo, CBA, of Balloons Online in Sydney, Australia, recently posted this fabulous design on the Qualatex Facebook Group. Chris said, "When Rose gold meets Qualatex chrome silver. A perfect pair in time for Valentine's Day." I also think that this would make a great pairing for weddings, too! 
If you would like tips on how to put a foil balloon inside a Deco Bubble click HERE

Rose Gold and Silver Chrome Balloons design by Chris Adamo.

Derek Wong, CBA, of Twisted Inflations in Ontario, Canada shows us how the Rose Gold 260Q looks perfect as a beautiful rose. 

Rose Gold Rose by Derek Wong.

I have really enjoyed adding Rose Gold to my designs. This colour blends beautifully with shades of Pink and Ivory. If you would like to know how to make this fabulous centrepiece and a range of beautiful wedding decor, make sure that you attend my Fabulous Wedding Decor for the Modern Bride class at WBC next month!

Design by Sue Bowler, CBA.

We have some fabulous additions to the Rose Gold range for 2018! Here is a direct link to all the Rose Gold product range - click HERE. Below are some of the latest additions!

Rose Gold Crescent Moons - 9" and 35"
Rose Gold Starpoints - 20" and 40"
Rose Gold Tapers - 13", 27" and 38"
Rose Gold Numbers from Zero to Number Nine

I am very excited about working with some of this year's newest trends and am very much look forward to seeing some of your fabulous on-trend designs posted on Facebook!

Happy ballooning!


Thursday, February 15, 2018

So What's Hot for 2018?

Mermaid display created by Sue Bowler, CBA.
There are quite a few exciting new trends in the party world for 2018. I will feature as many as I can over the next couple of weeks.

Let's start with mermaids! Some say that mermaids are the new unicorn, but unicorns are still trending, too! 
The new Qualatex® 38" "Enchanting Mermaid" Microfoil® will definitely be a top-selling balloon! 

Jewel Tone with Chrome Balloons inside.
Balloons by Luc Bertand, CBA.
I recently created a display using some of the fabulous new Chrome Balloons™.  I used Chrome Blue and Chrome Purple. I also double stuffed Chrome Silver inside Jewel Teal, Sapphire Blue, and Quartz Purple to create the fabulously rich colours as displayed in the photograph above. I also added a few Gold confetti-filled Balloons, too, that helped to create the very sparkly base. Here are some fabulous double-stuffed Chrome balloons that Luc Bertrand recently made - the colours and metallic look are simply stunning! 

Here are some of the Qualatex range that I think will work really well for this theme.

A. 38" "Enchanting Mermaid"
B. 18" "Happy Birthday Mermaid"
C. 11" Chrome Blue
D. 11" Chrome Purple
E. 11" Chrome Gold
F. 11" Caribbean Blue
G. 38" "Merry Mermaid"
H. 18" "Birthday Mermaids"
I. 18" Rachel Ellen Age Five 
    Mermaid Polka Dots

Sea-world theme arch created by Sue Bowler and team!

I love to create sea-world theme decor; we have so many fabulous balloons to use within our designs. The addition of the mermaid, confetti-filled Diamond Clear, and Chrome Balloons will be fabulous! 

Another 2018 trend is anything with PANTONE Color of the Year - 
Ultra Violet! 
This ultra cool colour is guaranteed to be used at events this year, especially weddings.

11" Chrome Purple
I think that the new Chrome Purple will be absolutely perfect for this colour theme. These balloons offer a rich texture, reflective surface, and a truly radiant colour. 

Wedding Decor by Sue Bowler

Photo courtesy of Markinternational.info

My third trend for 2018 is marble —marbled decor and marbled wedding cakes, too!

Qualatex® SuperAgates come in nine fabulous colours in both 11" and 30" balloons! Agates are often used in organic style decor to add visual texture and movement.

Elegant Black & White Decor by Sue Bowler.
I used 30" Black SuperAgates as part of the decor that I created for the Pioneer Balloon Company 100th Anniversary Dinner. They looked so elegant paired with Black & White Polka Dots, White, and Silver confetti-filled 36" balloons, creating a fabulous monochromatic colour scheme decor.

Watch out for my next blog where we will look at even more exciting trends for 2018!

Happy Ballooning!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Qualatex® @ The International Toy Fair and Spring Fair 2018

It has been a busy few weeks for the Pioneer® Europe team! Kicking off 2018 exhibiting at two busy trade shows, The International Toy Fair in Nuremberg, Germany, and Spring Fair at the N.E.C. in Birmingham, U.K. 

Display by Sue Bowler, CBA.
Spring Fair, Birmingham.

Both shows are the perfect opportunity to meet and connect with prospective customers and to meet existing customers face-to-face. It is also the perfect way to showcase new and exciting products, and that was certainly high on our list of objectives!

I have been part of the Spring Fair team for quite a few years now and very much enjoy the opportunity to create the window displays each year. I also spend two days on the stand talking to customers and demonstrating new products! The design on the left was one of my displays. I love the new Qualatex 38" "Glitter Gold Wedding Cake." The soft Pink, Rose Gold and Blush colour palette, and gold glitter with greenery textures are perfect for 2018 weddings! 

Display by Luc Bertrand.
International Toy Fair, Nuremberg.

The launch of the new Chrome Balloons™ has been one of the highlights of the year so far, and it was a fabulous opportunity to show these off at both shows! Luc Bertrand, CBA, created a fabulous organic style swag using Chrome 11" with added 260Q detail.

Display by Luc Bertrand.
International Toy Fair, Nuremberg.

Display by Alberto Falcone.
Spring Fair, Birmingham.

Alberto Falcone, CBA, created this fabulous Mickey Mouse balloon wall at Spring Fair. He cleverly coordinated Chrome Blue and Chrome Silver with the Onyx Black Silhouette of the Mouse Head. Did you know that Mickey Mouse is celebrating his 90th Anniversary this year!

Fiona Fisher, CBA, created big impact with these awesome Chrome Balloon Pyramids! Fiona and her team created decor that showed off the full Chrome colour range, and the beauty and elegance of these fabulous new balloons.

Display by Fiona Fisher.
Spring Fair, Birmingham.
Display by Alberto Falcone.
Spring Fair, Birmingham.

This fabulous organic style swag with added distortion designed by Alberto showed the fluidity and smooth elegance of these stunning balloons, giving a liquid metal appearance.

Here are some more photos from both fairs, showing many of the fabulous new products for 2018 and some of the great displays too!

Organic Tree Display by Louise Hedges, CBA, and Julie Dunham, CBA.
Window Displays by Sue Bowler.
Rose Gold & Chrome Gold Mr & Mrs. Design by Luc Bertrand.
Baby & Unicorn Designs by Sue Bowler.
Rose Gold and Chrome Gold Design with Roses by Luc Bertrand.

And finally, a big shout out to those whose hard work made it happen! Congratulations to everyone involved!

Spring Fair Team

Toy Fair Team

Happy Ballooning!


Friday, January 26, 2018

Valentine's "Love You" Guy - Step-by-Step - by Sue Bowler, CBA

Sue Bowler CBA - Valentines "Little Guy" design
"Love You" Guy by Sue Bowler CBA

Here is a quick and easy design that would be perfect for Valentine's deliveries. Don’t delay, and make some of these truly cute guys today! Simply change the colours so that it’s perfect for any occasion. I have matched my “little Guy" design to complement the fabulous 22" “Love You Confetti Hearts" Bubble Balloon®.

Material List 

 5" Onyx Black - 9
 6" Wild Berry Quick Link - 1
 5" Wild Berry - 2
 5" Masculine Face - 1
 160Q Blush - 2
 160Q Wild Berry - 2
 160Q Onyx Black - 1
 160Q scraps

Hand Pump



Make a 4-balloon cluster base that is weighted - I like to double stuff each of the 5" Onyx Black balloons and make each balloon a water-weight. Tie together to form a 4-balloon cluster.

Inflate the 6" Wild Berry Quick Link - 5 pumps using a Qualatex® Green Pump. Secure this to the base cluster.

Add a “raisin twist” into the top of the Masculine Face balloon and add a scrap of 160Q to create a fixing point. Inflate the head to the desired size, making sure that it is in proportion to the body.

Connect the head to the body.

Using the 5" Wild Berry, create two “split bubbles” and twist these together to form a cluster. 

Add this cluster in between the body and the head.

Using a 5" Onyx Black, make an “apple twist” and secure with a 160Q scrap. 

You can now connect this to the head. Make sure that you tie the ends tightly together and remove any excess balloon.

Partially inflate the 160Q Onyx Black. Make two small “pinch twists.” Now wrap the 160Q around the base of the hat to form the brim. Twist the 160Q at the point where it fits neatly around the hat and remove the excess 160Q, making sure that it’s connected securely into the double “pinch twist.”

To make the hands, inflate the tip of a 160Q Blush balloon, then secure a partially-inflated 160Q Wild Berry.  

Make two small pinch twists to hide the mechanics. Repeat to make the second arm.

Adjust the arms to the desired length, and tie both arms together leaving a little stretch between the two. 

Slide into position so that they sit neatly either side of the collar.

Add ribbon or a bow to add detail and a helium-filled balloon or a balloon bouquet to complete the design.

Valentine's Guy by Sue Bowler

Don't delay, and make up some of these truly cute guys today! Show them off in your store and if you are an online retailer, post a cool photo of them on your social media channels!

Trade Tip
If you want the 160Qs to last longer, use a tiny amount of HI-FLOAT inside the balloons - it really works! 

Happy Ballooning!