Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am so happy to welcome back Kylie Logan for Cozy Wednesday!
A Charming Old Custom
At the risk of sounding old-fashioned, I have a confession to make. I think charm strings are simply . . .
What’s a charm string? Ah, settle back and get ready to hear the story of these delightful antiques.
Creating charm strings was a fad in the late 1800s and early 1900s. That’s when young girls collected buttons and put them on long strings. There were rules to the game:
1. No two buttons should be the same
2. The buttons should come as gifts from friends or be traded with other stringers, they should never be bought
3. The more brilliant and beautiful each button, the better
4. Buttons with shanks are best because they nest together well
A young girl would begin her string with what was called a “touch button,” one button that was usually a little bigger than the rest. From there, she would collect for years, always in pursuit of one more button, until the charm string reached 1000 buttons. Then, legend took over. Some stories said that 1000th button would be presented by the man who would become the girl’s husband. Another story said that after she strung that last button, a girl would meet her Prince Charming. In a total turn-around from those legends, some stories said that if a girl collected all 1000 buttons, she’d end up being a spinster.
Charm strings are also called memory strings, and it’s no wonder why. Each button came with a story, and families would gather with the charm string and trade memories. “This is a button from the coat I was wearing when I met your father,” a mother might say. “And here’s one from Grandpa’s Army uniform.” In the days before the distractions of TV, internet and cell phones, charm strings sparked conversation and help pass along family traditions and tales. In fact, an unfinished charm string was always left out in full view so visitors could contribute buttons (and stories) to it. It was also common to find non-button items on charm strings, things like religious amulets, coins and charms.
Charm strings of any size are nearly impossible to find these days. Most have been scooped up by collectors or broken apart by family members who each wanted a keepsake of the memories. But that doesn’t mean we couldn’t revive the tradition. Stringing buttons is a great way to encourage fine motor skills in young children, and sorting the buttons, too, helps them learn analytical skills. As for adults, there is endless delight in old buttons, and I’ve seen charm strings (of less than 1000 buttons, of course) used as one-of-a-kind bracelets and necklaces.
So get started. All it takes it a little string…and a few buttons!
Kylie Logan is the author of the Button Box mystery series. Book #3 in the series, “Panic Button,” is on store shelves now. It features Josie Giancola who owns the Button Box, an antique and vintage button shop, and a charm string brought to her by a customer who insists that the buttons on it are cursed. Impossible, Josie thinks. That is, until the customer is found murdered, strangled with the charm string. You can reach Kylie at: email@example.com
Thank you so much Kylie for dropping by. My grandma left behind several strings of buttons. I believe that was how she sorted them and then hung them on hooks on the door of her sewing room. She never told me anything about a charm string but I could definitely see her as a young girl making one of her own.
(Button Box Mystery)
3rd Book in Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (December 31, 2012)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Jennifer Taylor
Cover Design by Annette Fiore Defex
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
E-Book File Size: 610 KB
Josie Giancola, owner of the Button Box shop, knows her buttons. But when she comes into contact with a rare charm string, she never imagines it will lead to murder…
In Victorian times, girls would string buttons, no two alike, in long chains to make charms. When the string reached 1000 buttons the legend was that the owner would meet the love of her life. A customer of Josie’s is not looking for love. She inherited a charm string and she will do anything to get rid of it. She believes the string is cursed. She has decided to donate it to a local museum as soon as Josie can appraise its value. Unfortunately before she can deliver it to the museum the owner is found strangled with the charming string of buttons. Josie doesn’t know if the curse is real but there is a real killer on the loose.
My favorite in this series so far!!! I have to be careful because I don’t want to give anything away but the history of the small town Ardent Lake was so interesting and plays a major role in this story. I really enjoy books that take us a few steps back into the past even for fictional places. As a reader I become more engaged in the setting and characters. The charm string history was intriguing as well. Manna for button lovers.
Josie’s ex Kaz was mostly absent in this installment. I did miss his antics a bit, but the character that stole my heart this time was Stan. He has helped out Josie is the store before but after Josie is almost mugged outside her store Nev and Stan feel she needs a little protection and Stan steps up to stay with her at the store. While Josie is a little miffed that they think she needs a babysitter she realizes it’s nice to have someone around. They are very comfortable around each other and have each other’s back. A wonderful friendship.
Nev and Josie’s relationship continues to grow. Some of the residents of Ardent Lake are a little more than peculiar and by the end of the story LaSalle makes a new friend.
Kylie Logan strings words together to create a masterful mystery that is a pure pleasure to read.
Thanks to the people at Penguin
I have 2 copies to giveaway!!
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Comments on “Cozy Wednesday with Author Kylie Logan (Giveaway too!)”
I want to make one. However, not buying buttons for it makes it much more difficult. I need the buttons on my clothes!
I have two (or three) button cans full of buttons. One of them was my Mothers’! We always saved buttons from clothes that were not wearable anymore. I still do. Maybe I can make a string bracelet. Dee
I’ve never heard of a charm string, but that is interesting. I will definitely be taking a look at this series of books. It sounds wonderful!
I’ve never heard of button strings. What a lovely idea.
I found a whole collection of interesting buttons at my grandmother’s house, but none on strings. Nice legend though.
Sounds great, would love to win
I love the idea of charm bracelets being the centerpiece for a cozy mystery…I’m intrigued! Definitely want to read this one.
Kylie~ This book sounds so much fun! I don’t know anything about Charm Strings except what I’ve read here in this post and I’m already fascinated! Hopping over to amazon right now to add the others in this series to my wish list!
I have not heard of charm strings before but this sounds so good.!!!!!!!!
I can’t wait to read this one-the series is great and Kylie is such a fun author (in all her creations).
Your books are fun! I love forward to one!
I have never heard of charm strings before. This book sounds so interesting!! I have added it to my goodreads to be read list. Thanks for the chance to win!
Sounds awesome. Thanks for the giveaway!
I totally enjoyed the first two books in the series and actually have this one on loan from the library. I’d much rather own one and be able to share it with friends.
I can totally see myself collecting buttons and making a button string- a different tale for each button. The book sounds great and I will definitely be adding it to my TBR list…….
A use for all those buttons saved by my grandmothers, mother and me. Thanks.
Love your books.
This will be an excellent addition to my button collection.
That was very charming <3 your book looks lovely! and thank you for the giveaway
I have buttons still from my Grandmother – so pretty that I don’t want to use them – but I don’t keep them on a string
Sounds like another wonderful book. Blessings. Susan Fryman
Charm strings sound wonderful and unique. Interesting.
This book sounds special. Buttons are rare now and a lovely idea.
Sounds very interesting, I have a lot of old buttons.
Can’t tell you all how jealous I am of your old buttons! I recently got some from my Aunt Helen, but I’ve got nothing from grandmothers. Oh, how I wish! Glad you’re enjoying the Button Box mysteries, too. I’m currently working on #4.
My grandmother had a chest full of buttons if only I knew where they were now!!
All my female relatives had button boxes or jars but none had a charm string! This is one of my favorite series.
This is something new to me. I wish I had heard about a charm string when I was little.
I can’t believe I’ve never heard of a charm string before because all the aunties and grandmas always had boxes of buttons back in the day. I think I’d really enjoy this book.
This series sounds so good!
I love this series. I think button collecting would be fun
Thank you for a chance to win yet another great cozy!
Charm strings sound really cool to make. This is the first I’ve heard of them. But, I’ve always had an affinity for buttons.
I love the idea for this book. When my grandmother was a young woman, she worked in a button factory, putting buttons onto cards. I can remember as a little girl, playing in the large box of different buttons that she had collected and saved over the years. We still have many of them to this day. I hope to win one of these books, because I have been looking all over and not been able to find a copy.
I love the idea and story of the charm strings. My granny had a lot of buttons in a bag in her sewing room and she always let me pick out and play with my favorites. Congrats on the new book and thanks for the chance to win!
I love this series! I must confess I have buttons all over the place although I am not a very serious collector. I started buying jars of buttons for a $1.00 or less before people realized what treasures where inside. I have also bought separate buttons. I have enough knowledge on button collections that I usually know what is going on in the books. However, a serious collector I probably will never be.:) Love button strings, but have rarely seen one!
I love cozy mysterys and am interested to find out more about button charm strings! Thanks for the giveaway!!
I am really looking forward to reading Panic Button.
Wow what a wonderful story about the charm string. I love it. I definately want to read this book. I am going to start a charm string for my great grand daughter
I loved going through the button tins on a rainy day as a child. Your series sounds wonderful!
love cozy mysteries this one sounds good.never heard of button charm string bracelets.its an interesting story sound like fun
My mother was born in 1903. She had boxes and boxes of miscellaneous buttons. I remember her telling me about charm strings and she even had a couple that her mother had made. I still have them and all those buttons. They are wonderful.
I’ve never heard of a charm string before, but my mother keeps oodles of buttons…I’ll have to ask her about this!!
I have not read none of your books actually it isn’t for me it is for my fiance and love to read. I am trying to get some books for her to read. Plus i used to be a book collector.
I ALWAYS love the books you review here!
I enjoyed the guest post. I happen to have an jar of old buttons. Maybe my daughter and I can each start a button string. Thanks for sharing.
My son has been collecting buttons for a while now – he does n’t do anything with them, but for some reason he just enjoys having a collection of something. My wife recently bought Super Mario buttons for him for his birthday a few days ago.
Love cozy mysteries
What a wonderful tradition. Cozy mysteries are my favorite books.
could get lost in that wall paper.
book would be a perfect gift … unless i keep it for ME
I just love buttons and charms… and now I know just what to do with them! Thanks, for the idea and the giveaway!
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