Margaret Furlong Blog | Everyday Life & Porcelain Design Inspiration

OBSERVATIONS AND IDEAS ON BEAUTY IN EVERYDAY LIFE

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I love to beach comb! I’m always astounded by the beautiful finds at the beach here on the Oregon coast. Many times the tangled trails of ocean debris, at the edge of the high tide line, appear as if there is nothing worth collecting. However, if you look closely and unwind the snarls of seaweed, there are treasures to be had!

To make this nest, I untangled and gathered together many strands of wet seaweed. I then loosely wound them around the bottom of a glass to dry. This created the lovely seaweed nest.

The larger egg in this nest is a rock I also found on the beach. The smaller is a White Crowned Sparrow egg. I found this egg in my garden at the beach house. The White Crowned Sparrows makes their nest on the ground. While digging out an old lavender plant in the garden, I unfortunately disturbed a nest. I’m so sorry to have destroyed the humble little home, but I do appreciate this little speckled jewel of an egg.

I am terribly fond of this little makeshift nest and its eggs. I have it displayed on an old brown crockery plate and the combination graces my dining room table at the beach house.

I’m on blue and red kick in the front garden! This is the third year in a row that I have used red and blue in my front window box and the narrow garden patches along my front walk way.

Unbelievably, the forget-me-nots volunteered in my second story window box. For three or four years now I’ve just had to remove the extra volunteers and leave enough to fill in around the new plantings. Red ranunculus and blue pansies are excellent spring flowers along with these airy forget-me-nots.

Eventually I’m planning on replacing the ranunculus and forget-me-nots with red geraniums and sky blue lobelia. The pansies should last into mid summer if the weather stays cool enough!

Last week I received an email from Stephanie Turner, a tornado survivor from Harvest, Alabama. I was so moved by her story and the kindness that she extended to us to take the time to share her extraordinary experience and her sweet reaction to this little miracle in the midst of a catastrophe. I’ve included photos from Stephanie of her neighborhood, family, and the serviving angels. Take a look at the Statesmen Journal, the newspaper here in Salem, for their story on the family.

I wanted to share our email exchanges. They follow:

Hello,

I have been purchasing your angel ornaments for my two daughters since they were born (minus the few years that Ms. Furlong did not design them).  For my oldest daughter, born in 1990, I purchased a 3” Angel each and every year.  For my youngest daughter, born in 1995, I purchased a 2” angel each and every year.  I always wanted them to have a special ornament collection, so that when they were older, and left home to start their own family, they would have something to put on their trees.

Unfortunately, the tornados on April 27, 2011 took our home that was located in Harvest, AL.  Amazingly, we found 3 of the 2” angels, laying in the dirt where our home used to sit, out of their box, and out of the storage container, but UNBROKEN!  I was truly amazed and felt that God placed them there to remind us of how blessed we really are.  Even though we lost our home, we still have each other.  We have washed them off, and now have them displayed in our temporary home.

I just wanted to take a moment and share our story with you, and what these angels mean to us.

Thank you,

Stephanie Turner

Dear Stephanie,

Thank you so much for emailing us. I read your email aloud to my employees and we were all deeply touched.

I am glad to hear that this was encouraging to you and your family. It most certainly encouraged us! It is difficult to imagine losing your home and everything in it.  I’m so glad you shared your story with us; we will hold you up in prayer in a personal and specific way. May the Lord give you peace and assurance of His work to restore to you what has been lost and continue to encourage you.

Please let us know which angels were lost; we would like to fill in the missing angels for you and your daughters. You can find the angel styles with the year they were published on our website. Click the link at the bottom of the page and it will take you to the home page. Just write us back with the angels missing and when you would like us to ship them to you.

Sweet regards and tender love to you and your family.

Margaret Furlong

Thank you Ms. Furlong.

I appreciate your kind words and prayers.  My family are already encouraged so much by all the people and their good deeds in this catastrophe.  The outpouring of support from family, friends, and complete strangers has been such a blessing and just shows how God works through His people.

Yes, you have my permission to use my email on your blog/website.  I have printed off the listing of angels so that I can go home and match up with the three that I have remaining.  I will email you back tomorrow with the list we are missing.

May God continue to bless you and your staff, as you are such a blessing to others.

Stephanie Turner

This last weekend the sun came out and I followed it to my garden! I planted my dahlias, weeded, watered the sweet peas, and supervised the final replanting of the Irish Yew hedge in back. The most rewarding task was admiring the beauty of the spring blooms and green growth. With the spring rains and a few days of sunshine, the garden is lush and the forget-me-nots are in full blossom.

These delightful billows of tiny blue blooms line my driveway. Every year they volunteer here and all over my yard. Planted by the birds or the breeze, the forget-me-nots have multiplied over the years and are an integral part of my spring gardens.

When the blossoms die down in a couple of weeks and the plants have produced some seeds, I’ll pull all of them and replace them with annuals. By fall there will be a scattering of small starts that will mature and bloom next spring. The garden just continues to give and I am the happy recipient!

Earlier this spring I purchased two garden urns from Judy Hillman at Madrona Hills Ace Hardware here in Salem, Oregon. I was attracted to the elegant form and the charm of the woven metal trellis patterned urns.

I wasn’t sure where they would end up but after moving the urns around my garden, I found just the right spot! Now comes painting, placing and leveling.

HERE’S HOW TO DO IT:

  1. I set up on my kitchen table for a dry, clean place to work. I cleaned the surface of all dust and rust and then I used throw away foam brushes to paint the urns.
  2. It’s important to create some kind of base for planters that you put directly in the garden so that the container drains properly and sets straight. I used 8 cut in half, recycled bricks to form a circle an inch larger in diameter than the urn bases. First I leveled the ground by eye and then set the bricks in the soil with a rubber mallet. I used a level to get them perfect.
  3. I used sphagnum moss to line the urns and wrap around a separate pot inside the urn. I used a recycled pressed paper pot. This set-up will make it easy to remove the plants and put the urns away for winter.
  4. The last step was to add the plants! I divided a large clump of hostas from the yard to plant in the urns.

The paint I chose for the urns is the same as my front trellises. Several years ago I matched color chips to the green copper roof above my front door and discovered Benjamin Moore’s Waterbury Green (HC-136), also from Madrona Hills Ace Hardware. I love this color in the garden because not only does it match my copper roof, but because it also looks stunning with all of the various colored blooms that are climbing and nestled in and around the trellises and urns.

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