Every year I am more and more impressed at the speed at which grocery stores and the like change the seasonal sections of their stores in what seems to be the blink of an eye. One day there are shelves upon shelves of candy, racks of costumes, masks, and autumn decor. Churches, schools, and communities have Fall Festivals and Trunk or Treats. Legions of costumed children descend upon these events devoring candy and cider like a plague of locust. As hordes of zombies, Transformers, and Disney princesses turn back into children, another change has already begun to take place. Before the bells toll the end of Halloween, pallets new merchandise are lurking in store rooms to replace the orange, browns, and blacks with reds, greens, and white. More and more often the red and green tide has already begun rolling in before Halloween sales peak.
As November 1st dawns, cool and crisp, the change has begun and in some cases, finished. Christams merchandise bursts out of store rooms, crashing down in a tidal wave of colored lights and plastic green trees. Wearing sandles, shorts, and a hoodie, I stare in amazement, thinking to myslef, Christmas already?! Are we not forgetting something? What about families coming together and devouring a metric ton of turkey, sides, and all the fixings?
What about pumking pie and cranberry sauce shaped like a can? What about Detroit Lions football? What about Thanksgiving?
I haven’t forgotten. Yes, I am preparing a holiday menu for my restaurant twisting, I am booking Christmas parties, I am brushing up on my Santa’s and snowmen, but before all that comes that iconic fowl. It is not quite time for Ho Ho Ho and Decks the Halls.
IT IS TURKEY TIME!!!!
This past month I had a great oppurtunity to create an Autumn themed display at the KidStuff Consignment Sale. Fall is my favorite season and naturally many of my favorite balloon sculptures can only be made during the fall (especially Halloween, save those for later). Ever since I made the balloon garden last March, I have been wanting to try my hand at making smaller displays combing my twisting skills and the new decorating skills that I have been learning.
I wanted to make sure that I included some of the best parts of fall. However, before I started planning what was going to be in the display, I needed to figure out a way to protect it. I designed the fence to define the space of the display and to keep curious hands from exploring the display. The scarecrow had not occured to me until after a visit to Michaels, which also led to the bails of hay. What fall scene would be complete without a tree in color?
After the main pieces were put together, I knew that I needed to add more details, a few balloon animals here and there and lots of pumpkins! Making the details was the best part of the display and I could have spend many more hours adding more balloon animals. For me, there is nothing more fun and rewarding than combing balloon decor and balloon twisting.
If you have ever been to a Moe’s, the first thing that you should hear is an enthusiatic employee shout out “Welcome to Moe’s!” If you go to a Moe’s on a Wednesday night, the second thing you mihgt hear and see is Mr. Twist making balloon animals. That is right, Mr. Twist is coming to a Moe’s near you!!! On the second, third,a nd fourth Wednesday of every month, Mr. Twist will be visiting a different Moe’s location in Louisville and S. Indiana.
Chamerlain Ln Second Wednesday: July 11 & August 8
Ferncreek Third Wednesday: June 20, July 18, & August 15
Clarksville Fourth Wednesday: June 27, July 25, & August 22
If you are not aware, Wednedays are Kids Eat Free, children 12 and under eat free with the purchase of an adult entree, up to children free per adult. It is now an all day event, but Mr. Twist will be there from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. After you order your food or even before, grab a blue numbered cone and Mr. Twist will come around to your table to make balloons for everyone that wants one, not just the kids! Mr. Twist will have balloon animal menues and time permitting will take special requests. If your Moe’s isn’t being visited by Mr. Twist, contact us and we will try and add it in September! Can’t wait to see you there!
Two years ago, I had another blog post with the same title… well that was nothing! March is fast approaching and I have over 12,000 balloons ready to go. To give you an idea of what that means, I will go through about 70-80 balloons an hour, depending on the event it could be more, it could be less. I couldn’t possibly do enough birthday parties to justify having a stock of 12,000 balloons, so what is going on?!
The first weekend in March is the Home, Garden, and Remodeling Show at the Kentucky Expo Center. http://www.louisvillehomeshow.com/ The Home Builders Association of Louisville has contracted me to build a 625 sq ft garden made out of balloons. Yes, a garden made entirely out of balloons. There will be a foutnain, a water feature, a wishing well, cute critters, and lets not forget FLOWERS!! All together, I am estimating using up to 6,000 balloons to complete the garden. If that wasn’t enough, Mr. Twist will be at the garden making balloon animals, starting an hour after the show opens and stopping an hour before it closes. We’ll be right across from the fire safety house!
The third weekend in March is the Louisville Kids Fair, http://www.louisvillekidsfair.com/ Magical Twists will be providing the balloon decorations that you see at the fair. Mr. Twist will also be at the Kids Fair making balloon animals for every hour the event is open!!!! Mr. Twist will also have a couple friends making balloon animals with him. During the fair, if you sign up for the new Magical Twists Quarterly Newsletter, Magical Times, you will be entered into a drawing to win a free birthday party. Can’t make it to the fair, check back soon for a contest update and an online newsletter sign up!
During the rest of the month Mr Twist will be making appearances at Texas Roadhouse Shively, Bob Evans Hurstbourne, and private parties!
I wonder how many balloons I will have left at the end of the month. Hmmm?
Looking back at 2011 and thinking about all the different balloon animal designs that I learned how to make. Funny thing is, I don’t remember all of them. I know that I twisted a lot of new designs, but I cannot recall what they were, or how many there were. It is like knowing that you had dinner almost every night for the past year, but have no idea what you ate each of those nights, you just know you did. The hard thing about twisting is that many times I will learn a new balloon animal design for a specific party or delivery and the never have cause to make it again. Early in 2011, I made three awesome dinosaurs for a birthday delivery and can only remember how to make one of them! Sometimes it is like riding a bike, I make something once and never forget. Other times, it is as if I have climbed on a bike and forgot where my feet go.
Being well aware that it is almost February and that the time for New Years’s Resolutions has past, moreover, most have probably already been broken. None the less I am resolved to learning a new design every week for all of 2012. It is my goal to actual learn the design and remember it, rather than forgetting it a week later. I plan on taking a photograph of each new balloon animal design and posting it on Magical Twists Facebook page. Some of the designs will be old ones that I have forgotten, new ones that I have learned from other people, or designs that I have come up. I also will accept suggestions or challenges that are posted on my Facebook wall. That is to say, realistic suggestions, I do not plan on accepting a challenge to make the Death Star.
New creations will be posted near the end of each week, with the exception of this week, I have a little catching up to do!
Happy New Year everyone! Thank you to everyone who made 2011 such a successful year. And what a year it was!! Mr. Twist twisted at over 100 events and kids night during 2011, as well as hitting the 200th event since Magical Twists was started in June of 2010! The balloon creations of Mr. Twist were featured on a segment of the Real Deal as part of Fraizer History Museum Founders Day event. Mr. Twist also appeared in the C-J the following day! Magical Twists was also mentioned in the Voice Tribune in connection with an Ovarian Cancer event, O.A.K.S.
Mr. Twist had a wonderful year of creative inspiration as well! Developed and tested during 2011 is a new service, Roaming Entertainment. It is a small and mobile balloon show that features of series of short skits. It is perfect for fairs and festivals where line twisting balloons is not suitable. More information on Roaming Entertainment will be added to the Services section soon. This past holiday season saw several performances of The Twisted Christmas Show, a 30 mintute balloon show including games, prizes, and stroy telling!
Magical Twists dabbled in decorating in the past, but gained a lot of experience decoratoring this past year and will be offering a wide variety of balloon decorating services for 2012.
How many new designs did I learn this past year, too many to count and I cannot wait to share them with all of you!
Very much like the giraffe, the cat is one that I would direct children away from choosing. The classic cat was learned along with the giraffe from the same VHS tape over ten years ago. Incednetly, I still have that VHS, it was Big Bob’s Balloonology. I am pretty sure he made it in his kitchen. Not that it really matters, I had to start somewhere. So, a big shout out and thanks to Big Bob the clown of Chicagoland!!!!
Back to the cat. It was a balloon animal that I would try not to make, since it was not equal to the quality of the other balloon animals that I made. It was near the top of my ‘upgrade’ list. I learned this particular balloon animal from a DVD by a man named Andrew Mc Donald, thanks for the great design Mac!
One cat is not enough though. Around Halloween, I am hoping to have perfected a new black cat. Until then, I am making the one designed by Mac and a bracelet. There has been a recent trend in the world of balloon twisters towards making bracelets. The goal is to make something that a person can wear and in the case of children, something that mom and dad won’t have to hold.
For a long time, the giraffe was a real struggle for me. It was worse than with the rabbit, I knew nothing other than the classic giraffe. Which, in reality is just a wiener dog with a long neck, rather than a long body. When I first began working in restaurants, I did not include it on my menu. If someone made a special request for the giraffe, I would give them an honest look and tell them that what I made wasn’t very impressive, and with a laugh say that is was just a dog with a really long neck. I’m serious, it really is. Materials that teach beginner balloons actually take the design of a dog (nose, ears, neck, front legs, body, back legs, and tail) and change the ear, neck, and body proportions to create several different animals; the dog, giraffe, wiener dog, squirrel mouse and sometimes a few more. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with that for beginners, but I could not make those designs while working and still call myself a professional.
Now, rather than shying away from making a long necked dog, I actually get excited about making a giraffe. I think that it is one of the cutest balloon animals that I know how to make. On the left in the photo is the classic giraffe and on the right is my standard giraffe. I say standard, because it is the one that I have on my menus and I can make it rather quickly. Not only is it quick, but I never fail to get comments about how cute and adorable it is. Where was I…. ah yes standard, implying that I now know how to make giraffes of different sizes and of varying levels of complexity. Pictures of those will be posted next week.
In my previous post, I used the rabbit as an example of taking an old, classic design and learning a new more intermediate design.
The classic rabbit design on the left uses only one balloon and a sharpie for drawing on details. Until a few months ago, this was the rabbit that I would make when it was requested, unless I had time to make a a larger, more complex cartoon rabbit. The new design on the right has pieces of three or four balloons. It was designed by Andrew MacDonald.
Next week. the giraffe. No longer just a dog, with a really long neck.
Almost all of my practice time in recent months has been poured into magic. It has been a very rewarding time and I am so excited to finally be able to offer magic amongst my services at Magical Twists. The unfortunate consequence is that I have not had a lot of time to spend on learning or practicing balloons. Now that I do have that time available, the question is, what do I work on next? Aside from polishing seasonal designs, what other balloon animals or balloon art should I develop? I want the people of Louisville to have a well-rounded balloon artist who can make the classic balloon animals as well as the more complicated designs, and everything in between. If that is my goal, then what must I do to achieve that goal?
Back to the basics, balloon basics.
What exactly do I mean? Well, let me use a bunny as an example. I have been able to make a single balloon bunny since I was a junior in high school and since I began learning again three years ago, I can make a rabbit that resembles a famous cartoon rabbit. However, I do not know how to make a bunny that is in between the two. I either make a bunny that takes less than a minute or about ten. It is my goal now to fill that gap, with a balloon animal bunny that takes between three and five minutes to make.
Over the next few months I am going to be developing more difficult designs that can replace the more basic, classic balloon animals that I already know. Stay tuned!