Tag Archives: Hats


August 26, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Rat Terrier. Hates cats. Free.

When Joe Horejsi saw this ad in the Thrifty Nickel, he could never had anticipated the impact it would have on his personal and professional life.

Horejsi is the owner and operator of Joe’s Collectibles, a unique antique store at 1125 Jackson St. that has been a staple in the Old Market for over 25 years. Six years ago, Horejsi decided that he wanted to liven up his shop. He’d seen dozens of thrift shops with cats roaming their aisles, so he started “kicking around the idea of having a dog.” He found the Thrifty Nickel ad the next day and headed out to meet this cat-hating terrier.

The dog’s owner was smoking a cigarette outside when Horejsi arrived at her trailer home. The first words out of the woman’s mouth were “she don’t do no tricks.” That was the moment Horejsi decided that he was going to be a dog owner.

Chloe1Chloe, the rat terrier that hates cats, adjusted quickly to life with Horejsi. She was comfortable in the shop and soon began to sleep on the checkout counter while Horejsi worked. On one portentous day, Horejsi saw Chloe curled up on the counter with an open book. He decided that she needed a pair of reading glasses and was surprised to see her roll back her ears when he went to place a pair on her head. He was even more surprised when the glasses remained in position as she went about her daily routine. Being the shrewd businessman that he is, Horejsi knew that he was on to something big.

Horejsi started collecting fashionable pairs of glasses for Chloe and, before long, she was dressing up in full costumes. Horejsi’s customers loved seeing Chloe in her outfits and unfamiliar faces began to flock to the store to take pictures with the friendly and fashionable rat terrier.

A lot has changed in the six years since Chloe met Horejsi: Chloe now has over 500 pairs of glasses and dozens of masks and hats. Hundreds of pictures of Chloe are collected in piles on the checkout counter and in thick photo albums. There are photos of Chloe dressed as Zorro, Batman, the Red Baron, Tony Soprano, and Warren Buffet.

But Chloe does more than just pose for the camera. She also offers companionship and comfort to those in need: Dozens of children, shoppers, strangers, and nursing home residents have had their spirits lifted by Chloe’s loving nature and human-like hugs (yes, she gives actual hugs).

If you’d like your own photo op with Chloe, or if you’d just like a hug from a dog, you can visit Joe’s Collectibles any day between  the hours of 12:30 and 7 p.m. Chloe loves people and attention, and will usually strike a pose for a photograph. Keep in mind that Chloe’s lifestyle and career demand a lot of beauty sleep, so she may be resting if you visit before 3 p.m.

And don’t underestimate this dog. She does a lot more than tricks.

Call 402-612-1543 or visit omahadowntown.org/shop for more information. Encounter

Margie Trembley

March 24, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

In our ungilded age of convenient, casual, ironic dress sense, one is less apt to see men of employable age in suits on a work day than in t-shirts with rainbow-spouting unicorns. Formal hats disappeared shortly before the moon landing and have regained little ground since. Luckily, folks with vision keep the art of hat-making alive, hip, and happening as haute couture. Thanks, Paris!

Margie-Trembly2Meanwhile, 4,479 miles from the French capital, nestled in the restful hamlet of Springfield, Nebraska (population 1,615), lies a sweet little emporium called Springfield Artworks. Full to bursting with decades of art, it is home to Margie Trembley Chapeaux.

Trembley designs hats you will find on the runways in high places. They are haute, haute, haute right now as couture goes. How haute? Haute couture enough for invitations to one of the best places an all-American hatmaker from Omaha via Arkansas can be: Louisville and the pageantry of the Kentucky Derby.

“The Kentucky Derby has a hat fashion contest every year the day before the Derby itself in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness,” says Trembley, who competed in 2014 against 200 other contestants in front of celebrity judges Carson Kressley of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and Simon Baker of The Mentalist.

“Miss America introduced everybody,” Trembley says wistfully, but humorously, in her slight Arkansas drawl about that exhilarating day. “There were 200 of us…I didn’t win a thing.”

Undeterred and in true Omaha fashion, Trembley made a quick study of the scene and came up with a clever plan to outfox future competition.

“Since I didn’t win anything and the winners were all young, tall, skinny, gorgeous…I decided I needed ‘young, tall, skinny, gorgeous.’”

Enlisting the help of a young, tall, skinny, gorgeous model from Nashville, Trembley took a second shot at victory at the 2015 contest.

Margie-Trembly-3“So [the model] came from Nashville and she wore this hat,” Trembley says, building expectations. “And we still didn’t win. But we’re walking around the paddock area with the hat on and we get approached by this lady who asked if she could take a picture and so sure, I said, ‘Who are you?’ and she said, ‘I’m with Vogue.’”

Let that digest a moment.

The hat made the front page of vogue.com and has been used in advertising the coming Derby. Trembley was interviewed by ABC Sports and even caught the attention of the local bourgeoisie.

“I’ve been invited to have hats at a high-end store in Louisville called Rodes for Him and Her during Kentucky Derby Week,” says Trembley. That’s not bad for a very modern milliner who began working with hats only a few years ago.

“I’ve been making hats between four and five years. I was a felter prior to making hats, though, and I’ve been an artist for years,” says Trembley, whose secret is that she never stopped learning.

She followed her passions and interests where they led: felting, glass-etching, silk painting, metal-smithing, pottery, glass bead-making, and glass fusing, all of which contribute to her individual style. It all goes back into the hats.

“I learned some really, really good techniques and I’m sticking with it.”


A Place to Hang Your Hat

January 4, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Wintery months in Nebraska can be a real drag. Literally. We drag the outdoors in, sludging with us mud, snow, and salt. And unfortunately, not all of us are blessed to have a mud room or even an entryway closet. This year,  after your kiddos get done shoveling the driveway, give them a place to hang their sweaty hats, wet coats, and snowy gloves. Use it as a towel rack in the bathroom, or in the bedroom to hang those clothes that are always on the floor. This coat rack can add some vertical interest to an otherwise empty corner and bring some functionality to your space. And best of all, because the poles collapse, it can be easily stowed away during the summer months when your house doesn’t resemble a public pool.

What You’ll Need:

  • Three 5-foot wooden dowels
  • Hot glue gun
  • Jute string
  • Three s-hooks


  1. Gather your dowels together in a bunch and space out the bottoms into an even triangle.
  2. Lean the dowels together and cross them about a quarter of the way down.
  3. Tie the jute string around one of the dowels and dab a bit of hot glue between the knot and the dowel to keep it in place.
  4. Weave the jute in and around all three dowels, securing them together. This may be done easier if you have a friend holding them in place while you wrap.
  5. Tie off the jute when you are finished, again securing it with a dab of hot glue.
  6. Give the jute a cleaner and more dramatic look by wrapping a single string up each dowel, securing it with some hot glue.
  7. Hang the s-hooks on the jute bindings.