News from the Tennessee Valley Living Today

Susan Oliver's hat featuring a fall garden theme won the 'Most Creative Hat' award at a recent Women's Connection meeting. Along with sunflowers and gingham ribbon, it included miniature flower pots, watering cans, butterflies and ladybugs.
Daily photos by Gary Cosby Jr.
Susan Oliver's hat featuring a fall garden theme won the "Most Creative Hat" award at a recent Women's Connection meeting. Along with sunflowers and gingham ribbon, it included miniature flower pots, watering cans, butterflies and ladybugs.

GLAD hatters
Women wear all the hats
at recent club meeting

By Patrice Stewart · 340-2446

"Whenever you wear your hat, your day will be special."

Gardening hats, traveling hats, sunshade hats, Easter parade hats, afternoon tea hats, church hats, seasonal and other hats all showed up for the first Women's Connection gathering of the season.

Nearly all the women at this luncheon meeting at Decatur Country Club wanted their day to be "special," as the quote from hat designer Margo Nickel indicates, so the room was quite colorful.

A hat-making session was in order for some women. Several days before the meeting, they gathered silk flowers in autumn shades and adorned their hats with the golds, rusts, yellows and burgundies of fall leaves and mums.

Sharon Thomson of Hartselle modeled a straw hat with orange accents including miniature pumpkins and gourds, plus acorns, berries, orange butterflies and autumn leaves. Her friends Coco Stepp and Barbara Cushing, also of Hartselle, had similar styles.

"I added a beige tulle bow to mine, along with autumn flowers," said Stepp. She also incorporated fabric that matches the valance in her den.

"We had fun making them," said Cushing. But then she admitted, "I don't like to wear a hat, but I took a summer straw and decorated it for autumn just for this meeting."

Ann Thomas looked ready for a safe hunting season in her bright "hunter's orange" hat accented with leaves and berries. She doesn't expect to wear it into the woods, however.

"Our church has 'Orange Night', when you're supposed to wear something orange, and I found this at The Dollar Tree," she said.

Wanda Woodruff of Hartselle knew just where to head for her seasonal hat. The Halloween costume departments of area stores are full of witch hats, so she chose a pointy black velour model with fuchsia spiderweb pattern that matched her fuchsia jacket.

"I started not to do this, because Christians don't believe in Halloween," she said.

While those women were decked out in the most seasonally appropriate hats, judges noted the headgear of others when awarding prizes in several categories.

Bette Sue Moneypenny of Decatur took the "Most Interesting Hat" category with her traveling fishing hat loaded with pins she collected in Alaska, Hawaii and other vacation stops.

"It's my day," she said, after winning a hat prize plus a door prize.

Sarah Sams won "Prettiest Hat" for her woven church-style hat in bright fuchsia.

Beverly Shannon got "Most Practical Hat" with her basic straw held on snugly with a string under the chin.

Susan Oliver took the "Most Creative Hat" prize for her straw hat featuring a sunflower plus miniature clay pots, watering can and garden spades.

Clarice Kessinger, Ann Allen and other club leaders also wore fancied-up garden hats with flowers or implements. They say the emphasis on hats and other items throughout the year is a way to keep their gatherings interesting.

If you go

Women's Connection, which is affiliated with Stonecroft Ministries, meets the first Friday of each month at 11 a.m. at Decatur Country Club. However, this Friday, the annual "Blue Ribbon Bonanza" with silent and live auctions will begin at 10:30 a.m., to allow time for people to check out the baked goods and other items to be sold to benefit Stonecroft Village Missionaries.

Call Clarice Kessinger with questions, 301-9196, or make a reservation Tuesday to attend the $13 luncheon by calling Nancy Fortune, 340-0113, or Maxine Hall, 773-4978. A nursery is provided.

Marie Carroll of Knoxville, who has moved eight times in 13 years, will speak.

"This is a place for ladies to meet and enjoy a meal, inspirational speaker and entertaining feature," said Kessinger.

Want to get a better ‘hatitude’?

The Hat Ladies are a group based in Charleston, S.C., who love to wear hats but don’t want to be the only ones wearing hats.

They say they are not to be confused with the Red Hat Society, because they are of all ages and backgrounds. They like to perform community service while emphasizing the elegance, grace and traditions of hat-wearing.

If you want to learn more about when and how to wear a hat, become an at-large member of their Charleston group, or start your own local society of stylish hat lovers, check their Web site at

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