JODI THOMAS: THE OLD BUTTON TIN

Jodi Thomas Author PicThis month my 41st novel (not counting 14 novellas) comes out and I’m excited.  A new series!  The best and deepest I’ve ever written.  RANSOM CANYON

 

Like most writers I get the same question again and again.  “Where do your ideas come from?”

 

Sometimes I have no idea where the seed of an idea started to grow in my mind.  But, then I get out Grandma Kirkland’s button box….

 

Button TinWhen I was little, her big box of buttons always fascinated me.  I played with it for hours.  Now, in an upstairs room off my office, I gather the grandkids (6,5,4,2) around the old sewing machine.  They all get excited as I open the box and let each one pick a button.  Old rusty ones, bright diamond bling, tiny pearl ones, some still have tiny pieces of fabric connected from worn out clothes.

 

Then as each shows his or her button, I tell the story of where it came from. 

 

Winter's CampThat was your great uncle Austin’s button. He was called Wildhorse and had three ships shot out from under him during World War 2.

 

That pearl one belonged to Mema Bailey.  She went to church every time the door was open and died at 92 still singing hymns.

 

That metal one belonged to a pirate who sailed the Galveston coast and buried his gold on Pelican Island.  Some say the tree he was hanged from was the very site where he buried his loot, but no one dares go near it because his ghost haunts the place.

 

That silver one is magic.  Just holding it for a minute will make you talk backward.  Now it’s time to say, “Night Good.”

 

And on and on we go.  With all the games and videos downstairs, they still love the old button box.

 

Ransom CanyonI’ve often said creativity is a muscle.  The more you use it, the stronger it gets.  I’ve been in the gym of my mind working out all my life.

 

The idea for RANSOM CANYON came from living in the Texas Panhandle.  I wanted to write about the real west of today.  I wanted my people to be like the men and women I grew up with, honest and true.  Not the cowboy on a book cover who has never been on a horse, but the cowboy who gets up at five to load his own horse and make it to the ranch before dawn.  He doesn’t work by the hour, but by the day.

 

As I began my first book in the series, Staten Kirkland jumped off the page.  He’s strong and good, a rancher everyone looks up to, but he’s broken and only one woman can calm his heart.

 

So come along with me on a series set in today’s West.  You’ll love it.

 

By the way, if you have a Button Box or Jar or Tin, tell me about it.  You might win a copy of the first book of RANSOM CANYON. Meanwhile, WINTER’S CAMP is free to download at these links:  AMAZON        B&N

 

MANY STORIES TO YOU ALL.

 

Jodi Thomas

www.jodithomas.com

 

Guest Blogger

28 Comments

  1. Oh how this brings back memories. My mom has a button box and when I was little she would tell my sister, brother and me all about where the buttons came from. I still go to her button box to find a needed button but each time it puts a smile on my face because of the memories. My mom, grandma and aunt also quilted and they use to tell us the stories of each piece of material sewn in the quilt. I have a quilt my grandma made me a few years before she passed and it has several pieces made out of the material some of her favorite dresses were made out of and it brings back such wonderful memories.

    I would love to win a copy of your book.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

  2. Hi, Jodi! I have a copy of “Ransom Canyon” which will be my reading treat for the coming weekend. You are a fabulous storyteller–as you know, I am a longtime fan–and I have loved all of your stories in all of the genres. “Ransom Canyon” does indeed have a different, deeper feeling to the storyline and characterizations. I can’t wait to read it!!!

    Button, button…who’s got the button? I have four button collections: one each from my great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother, and then my own. I have them all together in my sewing area. What fun to go through them from time to time–the buttons span at least a hundred-year time frame. I love the fact that the “ladies” are all together in my sewing room : )

    Thank you for all the wonderful reads and best wishes for the “Ransom Canyon Series”!!!

  3. Hi, Jodi! I have a copy of “Ransom Canyon” which will be my reading treat for the coming weekend. You are a fabulous storyteller–as you know, I am a longtime fan–and I have loved all of your stories in all of the genres. “Ransom Canyon” does indeed have a different, deeper feeling to the storyline and characterizations. I can’t wait to read it!!!

    Button, button…who’s got the button? I have four button collections: one each from my great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother, and then my own. I have them all together in my sewing area. What fun to go through them from time to time–the buttons span at least a hundred-year time frame. I love the fact that the “ladies” are all together in my sewing room : )

    Thank you for all the wonderful reads and best wishes for the “Ransom Canyon Series”!!!

  4. Sorry for the duplicate comment–I am having posting issues this morning!

  5. My grandmother used to have drawers full of buttons. It was like a treasure box to me going through them and picking out my favorites.

  6. Thank you for gifting all of us with Winter’s Camp.

    As for buttons… My great-grandmother and grandmother had a sewing room. Buttons in jars, tins… So much fun to play with. And imagine whose they had been.

    Looking forward to reading this new series. Though I have to say that my favorite series is still The Whispering Mountain series. Especially Tall, Dark and Texan. Love Teagen McMurray.

  7. Oh my gosh, Jodi! What memories you bring up for me! My mother had a button collection too! And kept it in a tin just like in your picture there. No stories came with the buttons, but I enjoyed looking through it. I started one and would pull it out on long winter days to keep my sons busy. They would put the buttons in different patterns to make driving roads for their matchbox cars.(Whatever worked to keep them occupied during the big snows!) A fun memory!

  8. I have a small button collection but nothing like what you mentioned. My mom wasn’t a sewer or a collector but I’m the opposite in collecting things with books being my largest collection lol. Thanks for the free download!!

  9. I have a button box! I inherited mine from my Grandma. When I was a child I loved playing in her button box and when she passed she gave it to me. I have added to it over the years, from ladies I had the privilege of caring for in their later years. It’s now 3 boxes big. 🙂

  10. When my MIL died 8 years ago, I inherited her sewing machine and sewing basket. It does contain a jar of buttons and a jar of pins. It also holds multicolored thread and ribbon too. I don’t know the history behind the buttons but I think of her every time I use her things.

  11. No button boxes in my family but thank you for the giveaway!

  12. Hi Jodi! Welcome back to P&P! You’re family to us. I love old buttons–I merged mine with my mothers when she passed. When all us kids were dividing up her things, no one wanted the tin of buttons. I snatched them up like they were pure gold. Just like gravestones tell the story of a person’s life, so do the buttons. What a neat game you play with your grandchildren. You’re making special memories for them.

    Congrats on this exciting new series! Winter’s Camp is a story I’ve always had in the back of mind to tell. I love that historical place that’s near Lubbock, Texas. Wishing you tons of success! May you write 40 more!!

  13. My grandmother had a button tin… it was pretty big… I wish I had taken it after she passed away… she had some really pretty buttons in it… I think my uncle threw it out.

  14. I read Winter’s Camp and loved it. I have pre-ordered Ransom Canyon and I know it will be wonderful.

  15. I have a mason jar filled with buttons but none from relatives with fascinating stories attached. I love the fact that you’re modeling such creativity for your grandchildren. I hope to do the same once I’m a grandma.

  16. Hi, Jodi! I love how you share button stories with your grands; how special!! I’m eager to read Ransom Canyon and appreciate the giveaway opportunity.

  17. I do have a button box but not a big one. My sister has two button boxes. I have sewed for years but I just never kept a lot of buttons.

  18. Hi Jodi! Super story about the button box. Just a few weeks ago I gave a big collection of buttons to a friend who quilts. So I don’t have those anymore, but I do have family quilts that are approaching 100 years old. I like to look at the fabrics and imagine what piece of clothing it was and who wore it and was the clothing passed down … lots of inspiration.

    I just (finally) finished “One True Heart.” I am in awe that you had six characters who were all, in one way or another, main characters.

    I did the pre-order of “Winter’s Camp” back in July (thank you!) and am putting it at the top of my reading list so I’l be ready for “Ransom Canyon” when it’s released. Don’t enter me in the drawing. I already have “Ransom Canyon” on pre-order.

    Nancy C

  19. Oh yes, I grew up with many button tins of my grandma’s. Each one had one and I loved sorting through them. I have one of my own and am teaching my girls to put spare ones in there and the joy of having one.

  20. Thanks everyone for sharing your memories. Hope you love RANSOM CANYON and remember Winter’s Camp is free this month.

    Jodi

  21. My grandmother had one. My mother had one. So of course, I kept one too. Mine was just a wood box but the kids would spend hours playing with the buttons. 🙂

  22. I have several button “boxes.” I don’t know the stories behind the buttons, but I enjoy looking at them. I have a jar of buttons from my aunt’s house. She was never much of a homemaker, so I think most of them were from clothes she turned into rags. She never sewed so wouldn’t have reused them. I have two tins of buttons from my grandmother. She was a very thrifty person and never let anything go to waste. I am sure she reused those buttons often. Other than the buttons I cut off clothing and those I buy, I have another larger stash. I was at an auction and they put up a stack of 4 boxes and a little, old book. The auctioneer only opened the top box which revealed old black and brown coat buttons. The book was on collecting buttons and published in 1940 or so. I got the lot for about $5. I couldn’t believe it when I opened the other boxes. There were a lot of unsorted buttons, but the bottom box had buttons sewn to cards and labeled. I must say I knew nothing about button collecting. The little book gave a pretty good beginners orientate, and the presorted buttons helped. There are carnival glass buttons, mioi

  23. I have my own button box, but it doesn’t hold the sentimental value that many do. I found this one in a second hand shop and it was a delight to go through. Along with buttons, it had fabulous small odds and ends. I purchased it, because I have a friend who is always on the search for old and antique buttons. She makes gorgeous button bouquets with them.

  24. I do have 2 button tins. One with antique looking buttons & the other of everyday saved buttons. I have saved them for quilts and crafts. I’m getting Winter’s Camp & toss me into the drawing 🙂

  25. My grandmother had a tin of buttons and would look for a button if you lost one. She had one for there home in New Jersey and there home in Maine. Always fun to see what was in the tin with buttons.

  26. Thanks for the memories. My grandmother had a button tin. My mother had a button tin. Now I have one. It really is interesting how each one gets larger with each generation. I guess the tradition stops here, though. None of my children are interested in having one even though all those stories are there waiting to be told.

  27. Ransom Canyon sounds like a great story, the real cowboy, not the Hollywood version.

    I have a button box. Some just extras, but some that have a story. I never thought of making it a story time with the kids, though. Great idea for when my great-grandbabies come to visit.

  28. I have two button boxes. One is buttons that I have collected over the years. The other is one that has buttons from my mother-in-law and her mother. My mother-in-law died in 2013 at the age of 90 so some of the buttons are quite old. My granddaughters love playing with the buttons as much as my children did growing up.

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