It was finally time to dig into a project that had long been swirling around in my imagination: a new line of kids’ Derby hats to benefit Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement farm in Kentucky named after a very special resident of the farm, Little Silver Charm!
But nothing could have prepared me for the big surprise that lay ahead as the new collection began to unfold…
Why name a collection of kids’ hats after a chocolate brown mini horse?
Little Silver Charm, a chocolate brown mini with silver mane and tail, is the official spokeshorse of Old Friends. Founded by Michael Blowen in 2003, Old Friends provides dignified retirements to over 150 racehorses whose racing and breeding careers are over.
And Little Silver Charm is the perfect Old Friends ambassador, spreading the word about the farm’s retirees in a way that only an adorable mini horse can. Blessed with good looks, Little Silver Charm exudes a quick wit and a captivating personality. Even the big horses love him!
Children of all ages who visit the farm each year are drawn to Little Silver Charm like tiny magnets. Like them, I was charmed as well.
Named after the great racehorse, Silver Charm, who recently retired to Old Friends, Little Silver Charm finally got the chance to meet his idol last year. I heard that the long-awaited meeting between the two silver-haired stallions was MAGICAL!
So who could possibly be more of an inspiration to me for a new kids’ hat collection than Little Silver Charm?
But as I got busy with the project I felt like my designs lacked something, a spark of some kind. I kept thinking, Wouldn’t it be great if Charmie could be right here with me, to inspire me?
When I was a little girl dreaming of having a horse of my own, I spent hours creating make-believe horses out of paper, fabric and yarn that would then come to life before my eyes. All the pretty little ponies.
Suddenly it came to me! I would do the next best thing to having Charmie here with me: I would make a silk version of him and he could then be here for inspiration!
I found two silks in mocha and chocolate to reflect Little Silver Charm’s coat coloring and spools of threads to match.
I wanted this silk horse to really look like Charmie, right down to those gorgeous dapples and of course, the HAIR!
“You’re becoming more real every day!” I told him as I finished for the night…
“I’m not like these other horses,” he said wistfully. “You said I was going to be a real horse, like them. But something’s missing.”
“Little horse, you were inspired by a very great mini horse named Little Silver Charm, and your mane and tail will be all in silver… just like his!”
I cut the yarn into long pieces, then carefully gathered and stitched the strands together.
At last it was ready to be shaped and attached.
“We’re getting there, we really are!”
I told my little horse that Little Silver Charm has some of the prettiest eyes I’ve ever seen on a mini and I had to find just the right buttons for him so his eyes would be just as beautiful. I found them at last, and stitched them into place!
You could just tell these two were going to be real pals.
He didn’t just inspire me to create the new kids’ hats to support all the retired racehorses of Old Friends; he also inspired the creation of the most adorable little studio helper and the little horse I’d dreamed about since I was a little girl…
You can view the “Little Silver Charm Kids’ Hat Collection” online featuring four Derby hat styles for both girls and boys; new hats will be added as we approach the Derby.
You can also read more about Little Silver Charm of Old Friends at the newly created Little Silver Charm webpage at MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS®.