The Milliner’s Muse

Happy New Year everyone! This year is already off to a busy beginning with our “Hats Off to the Horses” auction series for the retired racehorses of Old Friends and a lot of new chapeau designs coming soon for the Kentucky Derby and weddings.

To celebrate the New Year, I hope you enjoy this reposting of one of my favorites from this past year, “The Milliner’s Muse”. Thank you ALL for your support during my first year at Hats and Horses, I can’t even begin to tell you how much it has meant to me.

Peace and Joy to you all in the coming year,

And now… “The Milliner’s Muse”!

Every milliner needs a muse; Maggie Mae was my muse and studio kitty in the beginning when I began my hat business.

When she passed, a lovable orange and white feline entered our lives. She arrived one Christmas in a pet taxi from our local shelter with a stuffed chicken named “Chickie.”

Blog-Marmee19My husband and I named her Marmee as much for the character in Little Women as her beautiful coloring.

After spending a week under our bed, Marmee emerged and has been finding her place here in our home ever since. And to my surprise and delight, she has become my new helper and muse.

Very early on, Marmee inspired a brand new hat, the “Marmee” chapeau, offered now in my Derby Hat Collection. How could anyone not be inspired by those soft amber-green eyes and gorgeous fur coat?


Blog-MarmeeDer148-001CIn spite of what we had heard from the shelter about the rough life this girl had in her early years, Marmee quickly melted our hearts and tried her best to fill that empty space left by Maggie Mae.

Blog-Marmee29When one of my customers requests a one of a kind hat design, Marmee is there, inspiring me, as I sketch out ideas on sheets of paper that she loves to focus on as she naps and dreams with them beneath her.

Blog-Marmee20It can take days to come up with a truly inspired sketch that meets everyone’s approval, including Marmee’s.

Blog-Marmee24And whenever I become stumped, Marmee shows me the importance of sleeping on it and letting the design simmer and bubble up to the surface…

Cat naps do wonders.

Blog-Marmee18Whatever the cat experts say about kitties and eyesight, our Marmee has a great eye for gorgeous colors and fabrics, fuchsia dupioni silk being one of her favorites. And mine…

Blog-Marmee22The silk organza “feathers” I create for my hat trims require studying our Cape Cod birds for inspiration. Marmee is great at showing me the best perches to observe them.

Blog-Marmee21She also helps me do the research for some of my other favorite hat trims, too, most especially the handcrafted florals. Pots filled to overflowing with Marguerites, Gloriosa Daisies and hostas seem to captivate her as much as they do me!

Blog-Marmee23And when it’s time to ship a hat, Marmee is right there beside the hatboxes, those eyes filled with anticipation and wonderment!

Blog-Marmee15But lest you think that Marmee only helps me with the serious parts of hatmaking, she teaches me to giggle…

Blog-Marmee16The value of a good chin scratch…

Blog-Marmee27And the absolute necessity for regular afternoon naps.

Preferably in the sun.

Blog-Marmee9When our day is done my little helper and I crawl into our beds, exhausted but gratified by a hard day’s work. And we dream we are chasing horses and hats and birds under a sky filled with stars to light us on our way.


Blog-Marmee26Thank you once again for visiting me here at Hats and Horses!

Until next time,



9 Replies to “The Milliner’s Muse”

  1. Happy New Year to you, Sally, to your husband, to your family and, of course, to sweet Marmee! I’m off of Facebook now, but have signed up to receive your blog by e-mail. All the best in 2014!

    Céline 🙂


    1. And a Happy New Year to you and your family as well, Céline! And I am thrilled that you will be receiving my blogs via email now. I’ll be SO glad to know that you’re still out there… 🙂 Stay warm! xo


  2. Oh my..napping on “the Horse” book. You couldn’t have staged that. She is an absolute gem, such a kind eye and loving face. You are truly blessed to have such a soul partner and companion. Give her a hug and a rub for me.


    1. She IS amazing, Emily. And you know? I actually didn’t even notice that The Horse book was there, right beneath her. I just wanted to badly to capture her angelic face as she slept. But as soon as I did notice, you can bet I took a slew of pics! Talk about perfect, and she IS an amazing soul partner, showing me in new ways every single day just how special she really is… Consider her hugged and rubbed! 🙂


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