## Year of the monkey

Feb 8th

Happy (Lunar) New Year!

2016 is the year of the monkey according to the Chinese zodiac. I twisted the above monkey for a baby shower this past weekend (more photos to come!)

This was the first time I used a geo blossom balloon as a base. I’ve read how other balloon artists have partially filled the geo blossom with water or other weights to keep the balloon upright. I didn’t fill the balloon with anything but air, and used Scotch tape on the bottom of the geo blossom, which worked well for me.

## 2015 in review

Jan 18th

Happy 2016!

Though I didn’t post as much in 2015 as in previous years, I was twisting quite a bit!

A quick look back…

## Christmas cake

Dec 23rd

Cakes are high on the list of balloons I twist. (Who doesn’t like cake?) Here’s one I made for a Christmas party. I added a red stripe on the sides to make it a little more festive. Merry Christmas!

## Yoda

Dec 18th

This balloon was made for a co-worker who is retiring. He was my first mentor at my first job out of college, and I have learned so much from him! Congrats Dave!

To make this balloon, I followed a video by Flash the Magician. My husband has some suggestions for changes, so I may try to modify the design some.

## Happy July 4th Birthday!

Jul 16th

A very special happy July 4th birthday to my lovely and talented Aunt Jess! My aunt, uncle, and cousin visited and we got to celebrate in person. We had a great time vacationing in Cape Cod with family and friends.

Designed on the fly, this hat is five-sided and uses five 260 balloons. (You could make it with any number of sides three or greater, but I like five.) It uses a circular weaving pattern, the same one I use to make a birthday cake. I also added a brim with a 160 balloon. Afterwards, I bent the remaining balloon segments so that they curve downward.

## Pretzel

Jun 11th

I came across this pretzel balloon while reviewing some of the fun and super cool creations by Sage the Balloon Sage. It’s an easy balloon to twist and only requires one balloon. Add “salt” with a white paint marker. I always get a kick out of serving balloon foods to guests. 🙂

[ Balloon Sage’s pretzel balloon design video ]

## Balloons and some graph theory

Mar 23rd

**Can you twist the above balloon using just one balloon?** (Assume you can’t cut or pop the balloon into more than one segment.)

If you can figure out the above, you are solving a problem equivalent to what the mathematician Euler resolved in 1735, laying the foundations of graph theory!

**Some background:** If you are familiar with graph theory, you may remember this as the “Seven Bridges of Königsberg” problem.

At the time, the city of Königsberg, Prussia had 7 bridges connecting its pieces of land that were separated by branches of the Pregel River. The question posed was whether you could walk through the city and cross all bridges, but cross each bridge exactly one time. Euler broke down this problem abstractly. In the below graph, the edges (lines) represent the bridges and the nodes (dots) represent the land the bridges connect.

If you compare a graph of the seven bridges of Königsberg with a graph of the balloon (I’ve blogged about graphing balloons before), you’ll see that they are the same. And if you think about it a little more, you may see that asking whether you can cross all the bridges exactly once is the same as asking whether you can twist the above balloon using one balloon!

Pretty cool, huh?!

Balloon twisting has a lot to do with graph theory!

**Another similar question** is asking if there’s any route Pac-Man could take to eat all the pac-dots without traversing any part of the maze more than once (assume Pac-Man can start at any point.) Can he?

(Take some time and try to figure it out now!)

The graph representation of this maze is the same as the graphs above. And the question is basically the same question asked before.

Same question, same answer.

(Don’t read below this if you don’t want to know the solution yet.)

**Some graph theory basics:** if a node (aka vertex) has an odd number of lines coming from it, it is an odd node. If a node has an even number of lines coming from it, it is an even node. Euler proved that if a graph has exactly two odd nodes, you will be able to cross each edge exactly once (there is a Eulerian path), but you have to start at one of the odd nodes and end at the other odd node. If the graph has ALL even nodes, you can cross each edge exactly once AND end at the same point you started (the graph has a Eulerian path AND Eulerian circuit.)

In the graph above, all four nodes are of odd degree, so this graph does not have a Eulerian path or Eulerian circuit. The answer is: you cannot cross all bridges exactly once. And you cannot twist the balloon with exactly one balloon. (You’ll need two balloon segments.) And, no, Pac-Man cannot eat all the pac-dots without traversing part of the maze more than once.

Now back to balloon twisting – I wonder how I can use the above balloon – heart? head of a mouse or koala bear? base of a spaceship? 🙂

(And for you history buffs, two of the seven bridges still exist in what was Königsberg, today Kaliningrad [Russia]. Two of the bridges were damaged by Allied bombing during WWII, a couple were demolished and replaced with a new highway, and one was rebuilt.)

## Leonardo from TMNT

Mar 15th

Happy Birthday to my super energetic and fun nephew! His favorite Ninja Turtle is Leonardo, the leader of the team!

I’ve made Donatello before, following instructions from balloonmodels.com. This time, I figured out a different design.

To make this balloon, I used a green 350 for the head (with the same design as before), a brown and a goldenrod 260s for the shell, green 160s for the arms, a green 350 for the legs, two gray 160s for the swords, and brown 160s for the arm bands and leg bands. I had meant to take a picture of the new design of the shell, but forgot! I finished the balloon by using a a white paint marker and black marker for the face.

## Minnie Mouse birthday

Jan 26th

This birthday cake was made for a fun, energetic little girl who LOVES Minnie Mouse! Happy Birthday Kylen! 🙂 It was so great to celebrate with you! Can’t believe you’re growing up so quickly!

This balloon is a birthday cake balloon with a Minnie Mouse balloon on top (the feet are squeezed in.) I had thought about twisting Minnie Mouse permanently in on top of the cake, but this way, you can easily take Minnie off and just hold the Minnie Mouse balloon if you want.

The balloon cake uses the same pentagonal base design you see in most of my balloon cakes. Minnie Mouse is made based on this design by Syan. I need to work on the cheeks a bit so Minnie is less like a chipmunk. Not pictured here is a heart balloon that I attached to Minnie’s hand with “Happy Birthday!” written on it.

[ Syan’s instructions for Minnie Mouse – translated version ]