Ayers is a multi-published, bestselling author of contemporary romance and
contemporary and historical western romance. She’s also a crafter and joins us
today to share a bit about one of her latest books and directions for making
Christmas Kissing Ballls. Learn more about E. and her books at her website.
Thanks so much for inviting
me. I am part of the Exquisite Quills
A Holiday Anthology, A Collection of Winter Holiday Tales by
Exquisite Quills Authors and Friends. I know, what a mouthful!
Exquisite Quills are a group of authors who have known each other for years.
We've traveled down the publishing road helping and supporting each other.
Recently, we started the Exquisite Quills Yahoo loop for readers and writers. We share info on the industry and announce releases
and blog postings. We've also created the Exquisite Blog to share with our readers
everything from “first kiss” excerpts to author interviews. We write everything
from sweet to hot sexy romances, but we keep the blog and the loop friendly for
all readers, no matter what heat level they prefer.
fun, this international group of writers decided to extend our friendship in
the form of a free holiday anthology as our holiday gift to our readers and
wrote the story The Kissing Ball
for the anthology and then discovered that many people had never heard of such
a thing. So I hope to enlighten everyone and give a glimpse at something that
is more than just a Christmas decoration. For those who aren't as crafty, kissing
balls are available on the web or from your local florist. But they’re so easy
to make and can be used in a variety of ways.
the years, I've heard them called Victorian Balls, New Years Balls, Wedding
Balls, Williamsburg Balls, etc. I've seen them hung, and I've seen them pushed
onto painted dowels and "planted" in flowerpots. I've also seen them
carried by flower girls at weddings. So there are endless possibilities for
these balls. Since we're not going to be covering them in live flowers for this
post, I'll stick to the basic instructions.
traditional Christmas Ball or Kissing Ball is usually made with small pinecones
and nuts with a touch of mistletoe. But it can be made of almost anything for
any time of the year. I've seen them done with seashells, flowers, greenery,
empty cotton boles, or any other material you desire. You start with a Styrofoam
ball available at any craft store. The average is usually made with a six-inch
ball, but you could use a smaller one or a much larger one for a dramatic
my story, my heroine is making hers with a bag of mixed nuts, pinecones, and
red ribbon bows. She uses an artificial spring of mistletoe. A glue gun,
florist pins, and wire will make almost any sort of ball you desire. A can of
clear coat will help to keep your nut and pinecone ball looking good for years
to come. (Just hide it from the mice!)
easiest way to keep a hanging ball stable and hanging, is to use a long piece
of wire folded in half and pushed through the ball to the bottom. For a
six-inch diameter ball, use about 18 inches of wire folded in half, push it
down until it comes out the other side. You can poke a hole through the ball
with something skinny such as a coat hanger or even a cake tester if you are
using a narrow gage wire. Make certain that the wire will have the strength to
hold the ball. It will get heavy.
the wire through the hole and extend the cut edges so that you leave only a
small loop at the top. Bend the wires so they extend in opposite directions,
then poke the tips into the ball. A little glue over the wire ends will hold
them in place. They will be covered with glued decorations, which will also
help stabilize the wires and keep them from pulling out.
you intend to "plant" the ball in a flowerpot, there's no need for
the wire loop just mark the spot for the dowel by pressing the dowel into the
ball enough to make an indentation. You will push the dowel several inches into
the ball after you’re finished decorating it. Remember these balls can be quite
heavy when you're finished so you want a sturdy piece of dowel, probably about
the thickness of your forefinger or at least 3/8 of an inch. The dowel can be
painted green or stained brown.
a combination of small pinecones and nuts, cover the ball so that the Styrofoam
no longer shows. It's a fun puzzle to put together. Don't forget to leave a
tiny bit of space around that wire loop or where the dowel goes. It doesn't
take much space just enough to access the wire with a length of ribbon for
hanging. It's up to you how you arrange the pinecones and nuts. You can line
the pinecones up to create a design or mix everything. I prefer to mix
everything. Most craft stores carry bags of mixed small pinecones, or you can
gather them from the yard or off trees. Simply glue them into place leaving
space between each one so you can add the nuts. Once the pinecones are in place,
add some glue to the ball, then wedge the nuts between the cones. When you are
done, you can add simple narrow satin bows attached to pins to cover any tiny
barren spots, thus hiding the foam below.
like adding bits of greenery. This time of year, the craft stores usually have
artificial/silk bits of boxwood or holly with berries, and other such things.
You want to keep the thickness of the ball fairly uniform so that it retains
its shape. The extra touch of color and change in texture adds depth and
character to the ball. Don't forget the sprig of mistletoe for a Kissing Ball!
And who doesn't want a little holiday luck?
balls also make wonderful gifts and can be customized to match any décor. For
those of you in warm climates, you might want to make the balls of silk flowers
or bits of things native to your area. Use your imagination and have fun.
Kissing Ball is available in the Exquisite Quills Holiday Anthology which is
free through Smashwords.
NOTE: Flower ball and seashell
ball by Petals By Xavi
Pinecone Ball by Judy