What Comes Before Summer Fun?

Let us bring the fun!

What comes before summer fun with parties and family reunions?

I remember my mom and her friends talking about spring cleaning. Since we kept the house closed up all winter  it was stale, dusty, and just begging to be freshened up. As the weather warmed up Mom would wash bedding, and check to see if we needed to replace any of it. One day we’d clean the refrigerator. She did the inside and I did the outside. Of course we’d dust and then clean the floors. Before we were done we’d even wash the walls. No matter how much I whined and complained I couldn’t get out of doing my part.

A lot has changed since then. Cleaning is necessary, but around here we also do spring planning for summer fun. We’re gearing up for a busy season, have a lot of dates already on our calendar, and are double checking our inventory to see what balloons we need to order as the busy season gets going.

Young child adores balloon animals

What Kind of Crazy Bird Is This?

What about you? Are you in charge of planning the summer fun for a family reunion, party, or some kind of event? Did you know that now is actually the time to schedule your summer and fall events. Once farmers markets, end of school and graduation parties, June weddings, family reunions, company picnics are in full swing it’s harder for us to save space for you. To be sure you can get the services you want, it’s time to make your reservations. Don’t wait too long. Make your arrangements now and crossed that chore off your To Do list. 

TJ Inflates a Balloon the Old Way

Happy New Year!

Man wearing denim shirt, khaki jeans and cowboy hat is roped with a balloon lasso by a woman in cowboy boots, black pants and blue shirt.

There’s No Escaping A Good Time!

2018 has gotten off to a really cold start. These are the days I’m glad to have my office at home. I can get dressed in my favorite warm clothes (not the ones you see in public) and there’s space for my cats to snuggle nearby. I “get” to work on my least favorite part of the job: office work. That just doesn’t have the same ring to it as paperwork, does it? None the less, it doesn’t do itself.

To begin with I didn’t make any New Year’s Resolutions. Doing that sets me up for failure. I hate to admit it but I’m like those people who swear they’re going to go on a diet, go t they gym every day and lose weight yet quit after about 3 weeks. Instead, I’ve set some goals that don’t have anything to do with the gym. They have everything to do with serving YOU.

First, we are going to Twist & Shout Balloon Convention (in warmer Las Vegas!). We’ll be surrounded by “our people.” You know the ones. I don’t mean the gamblers and drinkers. I mean the balloon family. They’re crazy folks who love balloons, love bad jokes, wear bad pajamas to parties, and love each other. Not only that, but these are some of the most creative people we know. When we get back we’ll do our best to put our inspiration and learning to good use for you.

Next, I’m upgrading our party packages so you have more fun and less stress. The packages aren’t quite ready yet. I’ll roll them out in spring. Finally, I’m working on automating some of our systems so we keep in touch with you better. Since technology has never been a close friend I’ve been working step by step on how to do things others can do in their sleep. As I’m better able to improve our communication process we’ll be more accessible to you. You’ll have more opportunity to tell us both what you like about us and what you’d like to see different. That’s the only way we can give you superior service.

Balloons For Your Birthday Party: 3 Things to Know

What about balloons for your birthday party? When parents of young children see us working the first thing that comes to mind is birthday parties. Let’s face it: balloons add a lot to festive occasions, and kids love colorful balloon treats. Have you taken the time to think about the best way to maximize the fun? No? We have, so keep reading for some answers.

Young child adores balloon animals

What Kind of Crazy Bird Is This?

  • Are balloons to be part of the decor for the party?
  • Do you want the balloons as entertainment?
  • Have you thought about making balloons be party favors that you want to send home with each child?
Photo Frame, Balloon Frame, Party Memories

Capture The Fun With Photos

Balloons for your birthday party can be part of the decor. If you want to use them this way, you’ll need to have time to get them in place before your guests arrive. A simple solution is to go to the party and get a bunch of helium balloons on strings and tie them to the backs of chairs, put them in a cluster in the corner, and be done. Unfortunately, you have to have time or help to do the running around, your choices are limited, and if you get the balloons too early they look a little wilted before your party even starts.

Hiring a balloon professional means they do the running around for you. True, you have to be there in time for them to put the arrangements into place whether at your home or at a rented party space. Once they know your budget trained pros can give you ideas in an appropriate price range. They have access to a wide range of colors and sizes, and they have the knowledge about how to put them together efficiently and effectively. Once the balloons are in place, the professional departs, ideally before your guests arrive, and you look like a fabulous host.

Do you want balloons for your birthday party to be entertainment? There are a couple of ways to accomplish this. If you want all the kids to be entertained at once, it’s important to keep in mind that they don’t necessarily like to watch balloons being made. They want theirs, they don’t necessarily care about how you do it, and they want to run around. If you want entertainment as part of your party, plan to have a balloon show. Set aside a space where the kids can sit in a group and watch the performance. Keep the really little ones from wandering into the performance space and distracting both audience and entertainer. How to create the best environment for a balloon show will be addressed in another post.

If you don’t necessarily want a show but do want some entertainment, can you set aside a space for balloon games? These tend to be energetic, involve running around and being noisy. Often  we’ll need parents to join in and help their little ones, maybe even to be part of the team. Obviously game time is not the time for food and drinks. Those should come later.

Cups filled with candy and topped off with a balloon treat

Party Favor, Balloon Decor All In One Sweet Treat

Last, what about party favors? Is it important to you that each child has a balloon to take home? If so, you may want to consider having balloons for your birthday party made in advance so you can store them in an out-of-the-way and out-of-sight area. Then you can hand them to guests as they leave. Let’s be realistic. Balloons are balloons. They break. Kids may change their mind once they see a balloon they hadn’t thought of, but often there isn’t time for the balloon artist to make extras. We generally only make 1 per child unless there’s time to make 2 for everybody. If we finish up all the kids and have a little time left, we’ll make extra balloons for the host to give out at the end. Usually there’s not time for this.

How much does all this cost? It depends. We need to discuss the specifics of your party before we can give you any price information. One thing I can tell you is that having us pre-make balloons does not save you a significant amount of money. We still have to purchase supplies, set aside time to make the creations, time to deliver them. “But can’t you just make some in advance?” We can talk about that when we discuss the specifics of balloons for your birthday party.

In summary, there’s more to balloons than meets the eye. You have a lot to think about when hosting a party. Having a professional help can make things easier. Before you make up your mind about balloons, think about how to get the most from them. Ask us questions, take some time to think it over, then get back to us. We’ve done a lot of parties. By doing to many parties we’ve met a lot of kids. During our slower months we attend continuing education events about balloons. “How long have you been doing this?” Since 1976 I’ve been a children’s entertainer. I’m still learning. Why? Because I want to make your party a grand success.

It’s A Wonderful Life (Not The Movie)

We’ve arrived! It’s the last month of 2016, a year that has been difficult for many people both at home and abroad. Now I’m not one of those people who believes that changing the date, whether month or year, really makes a difference in how life will be. I’m more of a “make the best of it” kind of person. Today I’m thinking about how to make the best of Air O’ Dynamic Art in the immediate future. If you have ideas, I’d love to hear them.

Of course those of you who enjoy having us at events like for us to up our game a little each time, to come with new designs.

colorful pile of broken latex balloons ready to be composted

Whoa! Are We Going to Compost Those?

That means we need new designs we can share with other balloon artists, and we need new designs we can share with clients. We’ve been working on that. On Saturday we’ll create a big balloon photo frame for the holiday celebration in Fairfax City, Virginia. We’ve only recently ventured into the world of frames so I’m thankful to all the other artists who have generously shared pictures of their work and inspired me. Certainly I’ll share a picture of mine and they can “borrow” any good ideas they see there. I remember folk singer Pete Singer saying, “Plagiarism is basic to all culture.” While respecting intellectual property is important, so is sharing thoughts and ideas so others may build on them.

To be frank, our business has been a little down this year. I could panic, but I’d prefer to make the best of it. This means using the time to improve my skills in other areas. One question I’ve pondered is, “How can I make my balloon art more entertaining?” Maybe this requires a step backwards.

An old black and white image of Marsha Gallagher dressed as Modine the Clown leaning against a tree in the 1970s.

How I Got Into Balloons

I got into balloon art through clowning. The balloons were mostly filler, or a silly little act in a larger clown show. When I appeared at events, people didn’t expect a balloon for every child any more than they expect a rabbit for every child at a magic show. The idea was to provide live entertainment, not to be a balloon animal factory. I often think about that.

Are your preschool and elementary age kids so familiar with computers and mobile devices that they can’t imagine life without them? Are you? At times this might be important, but what about those times when you’re out with other people and need to know how to interact socially? What might it be life if teachers were virtual, not warm people in the classroom providing both verbal and non-verbal feedback to your kids? How would you feel if your boss just ignored you? It would be hard to know how you’re doing. Live entertainment in your home or at the venue of your choice is a way to help kids learn:
How to participate in a group, how to give positive feedback (applause)
How to be polite (not interrupting a show)
How to wait patiently (in line for a balloon if you choose that route), How to follow directions (look with your eyes only; balloons are only for me to touch until I am ready to give them to you)
How to deal with disappointment (when they aren’t there in time to receive a balloon)

How did we get to where we are today with the expectations people have of balloon artists? Are these expectations what really serve them and their children best over the course of a lifetime? If yes, how? If no, how can I best educate the public about the benefits of using balloon art as entertainment rather than as a moment of acquisition? Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think kids should never be given balloons. I just wonder how different it might be if all the kids participated in a show that ended with a huge balloon surprise for the guest of honor, often the birthday child.

To give a concrete example, I’ve been a crew member on several large balloon art projects that were public art displays. No one received balloons, but all were welcome to come and view the art, take photos of it, enjoy it while it was available.

Caucasian woman stands beside a life size rhinoceros created from gray latex balloons. An arch built of balloons displays a giraffe and a tree. Green balloon foliage covers the floor. Qualatex balloons were used to create this scene.

A Life Size Balloon Rhinoceros

Think of it as if it were a temporary museum exhibit. The work we were able to create was impressive way beyond your iconic balloon doggie. It didn’t last forever, but neither do the small pieces we create.

My final thought: Does any of this make sense to you, or am I just nuts? If it makes sense, then I see some New Years Resolutions waiting to be written.

The Balloon Rhino Project – Proud of Our Team

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You haven’t heard from us recently. That’s because we were so busy working with artists around the globe on The Balloon Rhino Project. Artists from 35 countries made balloon rhinos to call awareness to the significant problems rhinos face from poachers. I, Marsha, led the Washington D.C. team to create a life sized rhino right here in Fairfax, Virginia.

One of the most common questions people had as they came in to see us making this display was, “Why?” Why are people creating balloon rhinos. The short answer is that rhinos are rapidly disappearing in the wild and are in danger of extinction. Poachers shoot them and cut off their horns to sell them on the black market. Details are explained much better at www.theballoonrhinoproject.co.za if you’d like to know more. It’s not too late for you to help, too.

On a personal note, I also have made a life of bringing joy to others in small ways. I love to see the smile that lights up someone’s face when they see a great balloon creation. Even though balloons are temporary just like sand castles or ice sculptures, they lift our spirits for just a little while. Sometimes that makes all the difference in a person’s day. I wanted to create a piece of art that would do just that. If you missed it, I hope you enjoy the photos.

Rhino Alert!

Let us bring the fun!

Let us bring the fun!

Watch out, Richmond, VA! Our rhino crew will be busy at work in the Regency Square Mall to bring you the biggest balloon rhino you’ve ever seen. Come by and see it being built, take some pictures, and show your friends. We’ll be the most “POP”ular thing there. Here’s a sneak peek (BTW, our actual rhino will not be all these crazy colors):

Multi-colored balloon figure created out of many different Qualatex balloons.

It’s a What?

The Balloon Rhino Project

Woman in blue shirt on white background.

Ready, Set, Rhino!

Are we crazy? You might think so! Since I (Marsha) heard about The Balloon Rhino Project and have always been an animal lover, I decided I needed a team to help me with this global fundraiser for rhino preservation. Do I want to build just a little rhino? Of course not! If something’s worth doing, do it right. Right? That’s when the idea of making a life size black rhino took hold in my mind.

Life size? Yikes! That’s big. To be a little more informative, I’ll tell you that a black rhino full grown averages between 12 and 15 feet long and stands 6 feet high. That’s a lot of balloons, but we have the hot air to do it. We’ve teamed up with Deborah Fellman of RVA Balloons in Richmond, Julie Zauzmer of Balloons by Zippy in Washington, D.C. and plan to build 1 rhino at Regency Mall in Richmond on August 5. Next we’ll build one in Fairfax, VA at Old Town Plaza, 10420 North St. Our plan as of now is to build on Aug. 10 and display through Aug. 14. Check our calendar page for hours, which we’re still working on. Anna, Leila, and Noor from Balloon Zoom are a dynamic bunch of teenagers who aren’t able to help us build but are great with social media so we’ve added them to the team too.

I think the website for the global project speaks well for itself, so here’s the link: http://www.theballoonrhinoproject.co.za/#!the-pilanesberg/cnj7y  and I hope you’ll join in our conservation efforts. We’re all donating our time and thank the generous Pioneer Balloon Company for sponsoring us by providing our favorite Qualatex Balloons (www.qualatex.com ) to ensure a quality outcome. If you won’t be able to come and see the exhibit, please consider making a donation directly to the project at the website linked above and mention Team Washington D.C. or my name (Marsha Gallagher). Don’t worry about what happens to all of those balloons at the end of the exhibit. We’ll pop them and then compost them. In this heat it won’t take long at all for them to break down into usable finished compost. We do it all the time.

Dennis Price of The Radio Hotline will interview TJ and me at 8:00 p.m. EST on August 2. There are several ways to join us for that. You may tune in by calling 703-560-8255. To listen in right here in Northern Virginia it’s on Cox and Verizon digital cable channel 37 and in Reston, Virginia Comcast channel 27. My global balloon community can here the program (in English) at http://www.radiofairfax.com or on your mobile device at http://tunein.com/radio/Radio-Fairfax-s24818.

Our Balloons Are Beyond Tempting

Sometimes You Just Have To Play!

What role does creativity play in your life? Think back to when you were a child. Did you thrive on imagination? Make up characters or games that you played over and over? Build forts out of sheets or blankets draped over your mother’s furniture? Ok, in my house there forts were made out of balloons. I knew a bag of balloons intended to be twisted into animals would keep my daughters happy for hours. Life was so much fun!

And now? Do you ever have a crazy notion that just feels so right to you that you can’t shake it? Even though it doesn’t really make sense, you just need to follow through? I had one of those recently on the morning of New Years Eve 2015. It was some amazingly early hour (I often wake up at around 4:30 a.m.) and I was peacefully eating my breakfast, enjoying the solitude of the morning. A product I had recently ordered was sitting in its box on the edge of the table and I was just looking at the box because it was there. Well, if your mind is at its most creative early in the day like mine is, watch out!

The pictures of the silly plastic model of “Balloon Dog Anatomy” somehow gave me the idea of making a video. If you missed it, here it is:

Please remember to give your kids time to use their imaginations! You never know what they might come up with. Sure, it could be something as silly as my video. It could also be a springboard for an amazing discovery we can’t even imagine yet. Play and fun are so important to a balanced life. They’re the counterpart to the stress and violence we seem to see so much of today. Play helps us grow and live productive lives.

Helping kids use their imaginations is one thing that keeps TJ and me young. Unless we’re frantically busy and need to make as many balloons as possible in a short time, it’s always interesting to meet kids who know what they want and are willing to describe it in detail. They come up with critters and color combinations we’d never think of, or they glow when we invite them to draw the face on their balloon animals.

Invite us to your next party and see the creativity and fun come out. You know what to do: call 703-323-7399 or email us today. airodynamicart@gmail.com

I look forward to hearing from you!

Signature- Marsha


PS You can learn a lot about your kids just by watching and listening to them play. Try it!



Thanksgiving: Don’t You Love It?

Turkey Day! The grocery stores are assaulting us with ads about all the delectable foods we can gorge on next week. The must haves are everywhere: pumpkin pie either home-made or purchased, plump birds to roast, stuffing, cranberries, and more. Retailers are doing their best to get you to shop on Black Friday if not sooner. Airlines, trains, bus companies are eager to help you get home or to help your family and friends get home to you. Kids are looking forward to a few days off from school. Life is busy.

Hey, wait a minute. What’s this holiday called? Right: Thanksgiving. Let’s take a moment to focus on gratitude. There’s so much in life to feel grateful for, to appreciate. Are you alive? That’s something to be thankful for. If you’re reading this, then you have access to electronic communication. I’m thankful for that. Oh, and you can read. That’s another thing on my gratitude list. I can’t tell you what to be grateful for, but I know I feel abundantly blessed.

I have family, friends, shelter, warmth, meals, health and life. The actual holiday of Thanksgiving has never had big demand for balloon work, so I have the day off. I can choose to moan about not making any money, but I choose not to. I choose to be grateful for time to spend with my husband. If things go as hoped, I’ll even see my kids, though that remains up in the air. I have the gift today of being able to say, “You know, we really don’t need to gorge ourselves. A modest yet nice meal is all we need to sustain us and we can be grateful for that.” Ok, so I plan to treat myself to some home-made lefse. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, think tortilla but Norwegian and potato based.

As I roll out each piece of lefse and carefully lift it onto the griddle I’ll remember how much my dad enjoyed coming over to help make it after he retired. I could count on a quality control check. He checked plenty! I’ll be grateful I learned how to make the lefse not only because my mom hated it and was so happy to have someone else do it, and for the family legacy of knowing a tradition from my grandmother’s homeland. Lefse and pies were my Thanksgiving responsibility because you wouldn’t want to trust the vegetarian to make a turkey, would you? Ack, it might end up being tofurkey. Nah! I’ve never even tried that.

I’ll be grateful for you, too. Thank you to and for my friends and family. May you be blessed with abundance.

Blessings Come in All Forms

Blessings Come in All Forms