Balloon Animals: I'm a little rusty.

Okay, before I show you the picture, I want it understood that until last week I hadn't made a balloon animal for several years. I'm not a professional balloon entertainer. I'm a network administrator.

With that said, I've been practicing. See, there's an event coming up in March, connected with our fiftieth anniversary celebration, and someone (a family member, I imagine) let slip that I know how to make balloon animals.

This is true, up to a point. A Philadelphia-area clown going by the name of Pockets taught me the basics in 1992. I made a few that summer (fewer than a hundred, because I only bought one bag of balloons), and then a few years later I made some one day while working at a county fair booth (again, fewer than a hundred, although I also picked up a spare bag of balloons, which I never ended up opening at the time).

So, when word got out that I know how to do this, everybody said ooh, yeah, if we could have balloon animals at the open Y night, that would be great. Okay. How do you say no to that?

I figured I would need to practice up, so I ordered a bag of 250 balloons, plus a pump, and I broke open the bag of 100 that I had sitting around and started practicing. You can stop cringing now. Some things I remembered, and other things I looked up on the internet. (Did I ever mention that the internet is useful? The internet is useful. I've increased my repertoire of animals by at least 25%, maybe more like 50%.) This is as good a time as any to show you a photo...

Okay, so I need a little work on consistent sizing and on correctly gaging inflation levels. I have a couple of weeks yet before the event, and my old bag of 100 balloons is holding up rather better than I expected, given how long it's been sitting around. The black ones for some reason have almost all popped or otherwise misbehaved (with the two notable exceptions both visible in the photo near the front), but most of the rest are doing alright.

I also made, through the happy accident of not knowing how full to inflate the balloon for an animal I hadn't attempted previously, an interesting discovery. If you follow these instructions for making a squirrel but underinflate the balloon so that you run out of air just as you finish the back legs (taking the uninflated tail and rolling it through between the legs to lock it), you get, if you happned to use a black balloon, something that, in my opinion, looks an awful lot like a scottie. So if you ever wanted to twist a one-balloon scottie dog, there you go.

Here's a close-up photo of the one-balloon scottish terrier:

(Ignore the yellow; that's a reflection.)

Here are instructions to make the scottie: Start with a small pinch-twist for the nose, follow that up with a smallish roll-through (i.e., make three identical bubbles, twist the first two together, then roll the third through between them) for the muzzle and then two fair-sized pinch-twist ears. After a small neck use the remaining inflated portion on legs, body, and legs, leaving the uninflated portion for the tail, which you twist around and tuck through the legs before bringing it up into position. Done. For proportions (on everything but the tail), consult the aforementioned squirrel directions, which include a length diagram. Actually, the tail still uses up the same amount of balloon rubber for the scottie as for the squirrel; it just looks smaller because it's not inflated. HTH.HAND.