The Milliner’s Muse – Updated 3/31/16

Every milliner needs a muse; Maggie Mae was my muse and studio kitty in the beginning when I began my hat business more than 18 years ago.

MaggieMae1-MMD-Edit1When 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, well, “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-Marmee28

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-Marmee25

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

Until next time,

Sally

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Author: hatsandhorses

Sally Faith Steinmann is the owner and designer of MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS Custom Millinery. A native of Cape Cod, Sally creates couture hats for the Kentucky Derby, Royal Ascot, Saratoga, weddings, teas, and garden parties. MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS sponsors "Hats Off to the Horses", an annual online Derby hat fundraiser for the retired racehorses of Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement facility in KY.

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