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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”