Monday, March 28, 2011

Day 145: Killer Croc

Keeping with the large killer reptile theme... the boy from yesterday has a brother. He asked for an alligator.

I don't know the difference between an alligator and a crocodile anymore, but I think that for the purpose of making them out of balloons it doesn't much matter.

I could be wrong though, so if any of my readers feel I should be including something that clearly defines one shape from another.. let me know what that should be.

See you tomorrow.

day 144: Bigger Brontosaurus

I know it's a little blurry, but it was hard to get this guy to stay still.

I decided to try to scale up the "Long Neck" dinosaur for this boy, but didn't have the time to make the really fancy Brontosaurus.

I think the result was the creation of a nice middle difficulty dinosaur design... that may have an effect on the evolution of the Dragon shape I've been developing.

See you tomorrow.

Day 143: Goldfish

It's the tasty snack that smiles back... until you but their heads off.

I've been working on my fish in a fish bowl over the last week. I  had a little girl ask me for one, and I have been thinking of ways to improve on it since.

The first problem I find I have, is I'm not 100% happy with the tiny fish itself. I think I'm going to need to spend some time on making it look more fish like.

The actual insertion into the clear balloon goes fine, I've been putting things into balloons for a while. (I'm even developing me routine for climbing inside a balloon myself.)

The last problem I'm dealing with is the problem of how to make it stay upright. For now I'm using Geo Blossoms as a base.

See you tomorrow.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day 138-142: Catch Up.

I know I've been late with the last several posts. You've made yourself known. Things got crazy right after getting back from Las Vegas, and I've been trying to play catchup ever since.

I'm going to do a combined post today to make up for all the missed days that will include a bunch of pictures and will count for days 138-142.  This will make it easier for me to get them all up without having to open the new post editor over and over again and mess with the settings.

Things should be back to normal after this.

Day 138

I did manage to find an old picture of an octopus. This is from before I learned how to get the really tight spirals that I use for the legs.

I think this model has it's perks... It doesn't have all that much less character than the smaller version. This one is just more difficult to hand out and expect a person to handle walking around without whapping  everyone around them.

Day 139:

Here is the last Leprechaun design you should see for this year. I made so many of them this St. Patrick's season and in some many different sizes and designs that I've been trying to make sure that I'm not posting ones that look too similar.

I was experimenting with using a base to help make the lil' guy stand up on his own without my having to attach him to something on the counter.

Day 140:

Giraffe Hat. This is a hat design I'm fiddling around with lately trying to make improvements. I'm quite happy with my elephant hat (Which I don't think has been on the blog yet, so I'll have to remember to try to snap a picture of it.) And my Giraffe hat is the next most commonly asked for animal hat. I feel I still need to do some work on it, but it's getting there.

This is also a hat that is difficult to get a picture of because of it's height.

Day 141:

I've been working on building a bigger frog. This design is made from 640's and 350's. I like where the design is going, but I'm now trying to add a tongue to it so I can have it catching a fly.
There have been a few test builds, but I'm not 100% pleased with them yet.

You'll be the first to know when I've finalized the design.

Day 142:

Here is one of the times when I'll share my mistakes with you guys.

I have been asked for hedgehogs a lot lately, and as a result I've been trying to work on a new design for one. Here you see one of my attempts that I feel didn't quite hit the mark.

In my defense, up till now I've only ever been asked for Sonic the Hedgehog... so I've never had to think much about a more realistic looking version.

I'm never one to back down from a challenge though, so I'm sure you will see more versions of this little critter as it evolves.

Ok. Done.
That gets me all caught up again.

Tomorrow should resume with the normal daily posts since I'm back in Ohio and things are slowing down.
April is looking really busy for me, and July is nearly packed... this might mean I'll be late a few times, but it should also mean I'll have plenty of opportunities  to snap some pictures of new designs.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Day 137: Octopus 2.0

Here is the more current version of my octopus. I've had larger and smaller versions of this animal over the years, but I think I'll be staying with this one for a while.

I think I've got a few pictures of the previous versions of the octopus, if I can dig them up I'll let you guys see the evolution of the balloon octopus.

See you tomorrow.

Day 136: Rainbow Hat

I received a lot of requests for a better look at the rainbow design I had put on the Relay for Life bucket. 

Here is a similar design I made when trying to improve my rainbow hat.

It was a spur of the moment attempt, and I was trying to mix the old rainbow hat with this new idea.

Let me know what you guys think.

Also, I've had a large spike in page views on the post I did back on day 75. It was a post where I mad a little boy a balloon taser gun. Anyone have any idea while this old post saw a huge jump?

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Day 135: Rawr

The lion is one of those shapes that I'm always going back to and trying to redesign.
Truthfully, any cat shape is one that I feel I struggle with.
Here is an example of a medium difficulty lion shape that is still a work in progress.

This is one of the main points for this blog though... to force me to improve my designs and techniques.

See you tomorrow.

Day 134: Green Day

It's Saint Patrick's Day!

Here is a fun little scene I built for one of my local restaurants.

I apologize for my last few posts being short ones. I've been in Las Vegas for the week and I'm rarely near my laptop.

Things should be back to normal next week.

See you tomorrow.

Day 133: Say Hello To My Little Friend

Here is a larger version of the Leprechaun with his pot of gold.
I ended up making a lot of pots of gold this year and I've gotten quite quick at them.

See you tomorrow. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day 132: Hanging Around.

Here is one of my Leprechauns hanging out at a local pub.

This is also an example of the versatility of the character body. Even when adding a little extra detail to the body design it's still quite good for being posed or attached to something.

I'm off to go walk around the Vegas strip now.

See you tomorrow.

Day 131: Think Green

Well... We made it.
Our plane was delayed heading to Atlanta, but they managed to hold our connecting flight so we made it to Las Vegas in time.

I'm planning to try to make some fun sculptures while I'm here of some of the landmarks, so I hope to have some pictures to share when I get back.

What with it being St. Patrick's Day this week... I thought I'd share some variations on the Leprechaun.

Here is a small version of the lil' guy with his own special pot of gold. This restaurant participates in the Relay for Life events, and I thought I'd do something to draw a little attention to the donations bucket.

It's 2:20 am here in Vegas, which means it's 5:20 back home.  I'm still wide awake, I think I'm going to go look at all the pretty lights and building again.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day 130: Iron Man

Tonight I got to make a character I haven't been asked for since the first movie came out.


I've always been a fan or the iron man character, and here is my version of the quick and simple man of iron.

I had what I think was a great idea at the end and added rocket exhaust to the feet to make it look like he was blasting off.

I liked this basic design and think I'll spend a little time improving on it. At the very least I need to get better at drawing the helmet.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Day 129: Delta Sigma... something...

I don't remember the name of the last Greek symbol I put on the hat... It was a circle with a dash in it.

At an Applebee's last week I came to a table with a gathering of sorority sisters. They were on their way to a local resort for a vacation and decided to stop and grab some dinner.

I was asked to put the symbols of their house on a hat. You can't see the last symbol well because of the curvature of the design, but it turned out quite nice. 

I always like challenges like this, when I'm asked to make something unique and new, because it makes me think on the spot instead of relying on muscle memory to make something I've made a thousand of before.

The Greek lettering are shapes I'm not familiar with, I'm used to spelling out names and things in the standard English alphabet and know how to attach each letter to a design so it works well.
The Greek lettering has all new attachment points, and therefore the frame I need to build to hold them has to be redesigned also.

I think I might approach the Greek organizations on campus about making a few sculptures for them. I will give me a good opportunity to learn their alphabet.

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Day 128: Scarecrow

I was digging through old albums looking for stuff for the blog, and I found this one from back around Halloween.

Here was a simple scarecrow I build as a decoration for one of my restaurants.

I was trying to make the balloon scraps look like bits of straw sticking out of the seams... I'm not sure how I feel about it now.

See you tomorrow.

Day 127: Extra Blood

If any of you also pay attention to my Twitter been over on the side of the page, then you know I donated blood last week.

I'm type 0+ which is the blood type that anyone can take... that means I'm getting called by the Red Cross every 56 days to set up an appointment to give blood.

I've managed to git myself a little peace by giving double sized donations when I go. They have a machine they can hook you up to where they take out a bunch of blood, then pump some plasma into you, then they take out some more blood.

I had been feeling like I was lugging around some extra blood lately, so I was glad to see them on campus.

If you're able to, I do want to encourage you to give blood. It's less than 30 min out of you day, and it's some good karma.

I made them a little balloon guy to put on the front table, and told them I'd be interested in building them something grander next time they are in the area.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day 126: My Apprentice

I've mentioned a few times that I'd taken on a new student and was teaching her the basics of balloon entertainment.

Here she is. This is the picture I took on graduation day from the balloon school.

She went from knowing a few basic shapes like the standard dog, and now knows dozens of designs and is ready to give entertaining in a restaurant a try. I'm quite confident that with the training I gave her, and the skills she showed me, that she's going to do great.

I've got another student lined up from when I get back from Las Vegas next weekend, but I'm hoping to find some more people interested in learning.

Anyone that reads this in the North East Ohio area that is interested in learning a fun new skill that can be quite lucrative, feel free to contact me.

Also, if any of the readers are from Las Vegas, I have a few questions about street performers. Anyone know the laws there for entertaining on the street for tips? I'll have some down time every once in a while, and I thought it would be fun to make some balloons out there and try to earn enough to surprise the wife with tickets to a show or something.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Day 125: Local Entertainment

Here is an example of working with your local venues to help each other out.

Every Wednesday I'm at a Local Donato's Pizza entertaining. I've been at this location for 2 years now and have developed a strong group of regulars that come to see me at least a couple times a month.

Donato's also offers some great party packages if you have it at their location. They will let you destroy their party room and even have some games on site. The coolest package they have is a "make your own pizza" party. They bring out each kid a small pizza dough and then a selection of toppings is laid out in front of them. The kids get to put their own toppings on, then go back one at a time with a helper to put the pizza into the oven. I think it's a fun idea to let them make their own meal, and the kids get to see what a working kitchen looks like.

I told them to put me on the list also. Why not let the restaurants you're entertaining at regularly also act as little booking agents for you. It's one more chance to get hired for another show and it's in an environment you're familiar with.

Just something to think about.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

day 124: Those Are Some Crazy Hats!

Last night at Doogan's of Aurora was a night of big and crazy hats.

This lady became a trend setter. She was seated at the entrance to the room she was in, so anyone entering saw her headgear. Before long other tables were pointing at her and saying "I want a hat like she got!"

She was eating it up also, she would visit the other tables and pose for pictures.

This is a prime example of why a twister should have a good variety of hats available to them. When you start making fun hats, you stand out and the other people in the room will start enjoying watching you make the designs. Before you know it, you're making balloons for one table, but you're entertaining the whole restaurant.

See you tomorrow.

day 123: Blue Beyblade... Thing...

Here is the more sinister half of the Beyblade duo. He even brought me in a picture of what he wanted me to make him. This was very helpful, because the pictures on those tops are tiny.

See you tomorrow.

Day 122: More Beyblades!

I owe these boys an apology. 

I thought I had already posted the last Beyblades I made for them, but I found them still sitting in my phone. I'm sorry for the delay.

I also have to apologize that I wasn't able to make them their Beyblades last time they came in. The restaurant was packed, and I didn't have the time to devote to making sure I made them a good design.

I hope that next time they come in I am able to make it up to them.

(I am also sorry that I couldn't fix your red demon eyes... my photo editing program crashed on me.)

Here is a Beyblade Shark. (I should start asking what the names of these things are)

I think I did got close to recreating this one.

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Day 121: Battle Pose

You may recognise the taller boy from an earlier Star Wars themed post. 

The family returned with another request from a galaxy far far away.

This time the boys wanted to have a Lightsabre duel, and I was the only one who could make that happen for them.

I feel I can rest easy knowing that these two are protecting the planet.

See you tomorrow.

day 120: That's Some Hat

Here is an example of how things can go horrible wrong if I'm allowed left alone for too long and have to entertain myself.

This gentleman was the boyfriend of one of the servers at the restaurant I was entertaining at.
There was a strange lull on these Family Nights in the middle of my time there when the place was quite dead. It would be busy when I arrived, and packed when I left, but there was always around 20-30 min in the middle when the place was nearly a ghost town.

This poor man walked in on one such evening.

His girlfriend asked me to make her a penguin, he asked for a hat, and then he asked if he could take something to his boss at work... and we decided on a monkey. His hat grew more and more outrageous as time went on, and in the end it was so crazy I had to ask for a picture of it.

See you tomorrow.

day 119: Mermaid Rob

I found this picture while looking at old albums. This is from a couple years ago at a local gaming convention. This gentleman asked if I could make a balloon version of him, and his wife chimed in that it should be a  mermaid.

He had a good sense of humor about it all. This was actually a design turning point for me, up till that point the body of my mermaid had been much more simple.

This is a common way (for me at least) to improve on a design. Someone asks me for something new, and I have to figure out how to build it.

See you tomorrow.

Day 118: Balloon Class

I've been doing a lot of teaching and training lately. 

I'm nearly finished training a new twister who will be working with me in the area to help with local family nights at restaurants.

I've also been doing a lot of balloon classes as packages for private parties or at a few libraries and a girl scout troop.
I see this as a good sign. I hope this means that interest in ballooning is on the rise, and I will be seeing more business and more beginning twisters in the future.

If there are any readers in the North East Ohio area interested in learning how to twist, or want to improve their skills, contact me.
I've got some opportunities brewing, and I need some extra hands.

See you tomorrow.

Day 117: Duck

I don't remember now, does Daisey have a speech problem like Donald does?

Here is one of my favorite regulars, who very excitedly asked for a Daisey Duck to be made.
She specified that there must be a purple bow, purple dress, and purple shoes.

This was a kind of quick build, but I think it was a good attempt. In retrospect as I look at the picture, I would have done the bow differently so it didn't look so much like ears.

See you tomorrow

Day 116: Black Squirrel

It was awareness day on campus today, and there were a lot of table set up handing out stickers and pins with various slogans about Kent State.

One of the mascots or popular images at my college is a black squirrel. These little guys have been living on campus for several squirrel generations, and have run off all the other breeds of squirrel.

One of the most interesting things I've learned about the evolution of the black squirrel population on campus, is that not only are they not afraid of people because they've grown up in their midst (more than once I've been enjoying a meal outside and a squirrel has come up to within arms reach to check me out. I've fed several of them bits of my food directly from my hand) but they have taken us into account when planning their winter preparations.

It's been noticed over the last few years that squirrels are using us to crack their acorns. They will pile up acorns on the sidewalks in heavily trafficked areas and allow us to walk all over them to open the shells. I myself have noticed piles of acorns and shells in areas where no acorn trees are anywhere nearby for them to have fallen from.

Anyway, I threw together a black squirrel holding an acorn and put it on one of the tables in the main student center. 

See you tomorrow.

Missing Posts

It's been brought to my attention that the last several posts I've made have not been showing up.
One of the readers was able to help me fix the situation.

It seems that I didn't notice the problem because I am always signed into my Google account and the posts were visible to me. Anyone not signed into my Google account however, could not see them.

It was basically an error where I was "posting" my updates, but Google was saving them in some hidden form of a "draft" because of a reoccurring error during the "posting" process.

I seem to have it fixed now. (You're reading this.)

I will now go and repair the missing posts and get things back on track.

Google is pretty awesome... they cancel my ad payment account, then mess up the blog itself.  I may just have to get this whole thing switched over to a proper .com sooner than planned.