Saturday, May 24, 2014


Miss Pickles holds soldier (l) and pirate swords.
Like people, balloons exhibit different behaviors depending on their circumstances. For instance, balloons are surprisingly weather-sensitive. In cold temperatures, anything below about 62 degrees, they inflate reluctantly and practically wither during the twisting process. They also appear slightly smaller once inflated, as if the air molecules are huddling together inside the balloon to keep warm.

In warmer weather, balloons inflate easily and fully, but one must be mindful of exposure (nope, I don't mean sunscreen). While balloons share Miss Pickles' legendary love for heat, they do not behave well in direct sunlight, exploding with alarming frequency. That's why I typically request an awning or shady spot for outdoor events. At one festival in Tennessee, with temps at a sizzling 94 degrees, I twisted contentedly beneath my awning with few to no pops. See, like me, balloons dig heat.

In addition, like most of us, balloons prefer careful handling. Excessive or rough twisting (yes, there is such a thing) or handling a balloon with sharp nails or craggy fingers will usually not produce desired results. Smooth hands and gentle twisting, pulling balloon segments apart slightly while twisting (this also lessens that squeaky scrapey sound that makes people flinch) leads to beautiful creations more than poppage. (Is that a word? Well, it is now.)

Last weird tidbit, I find that balloons fare better when blown up by mouth versus the hand pump. Now, I'm an avid hand pump user myself, but I've witnessed that there's something about those moist saliva molecules that increases a balloon's chance of survival. Strange but true. Perhaps my science friends at Big Thinkers could explain why … stay tuned and keep twisting!

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