Margaret Furlong Blog | Everyday Life & Porcelain Design Inspiration



I have a collection of treasures I’ve found on the beach stored in my kitchen drawers. I like to take out some of the sea treasures and play, creating pleasing arrangements and using them for summer decorations around the house. They are so much fun to use in tablescapes at my beach house. I make additions and rearrange them to keep the compositions fresh and fun. They also work great framed on the wall.

Here I have wrapped seaweed around coralline algae and muscle and scallop shells. I added another variety of funky pink seaweed and I fixed everything in place with gold sealing wax. The possibilities are endless! You can also use superglue for a permanent hold.

To mount these 3-dimensional collages on the wall, superglue your finished product to matt board and frame. It’s are a great project for the whole family to do together.

While I was dusting my tables at the beach house last weekend – always a labor of love – I marveled at the exquisite sea forms in this arrangement of sea souvenirs and photographed it. Most of the shells on this table are abalone shells. I purchased these here and there. It was only last year that I found one myself while I was beach combing in New Zealand. Abalone is common in New Zealand; it is popular as a food and the polished shells are used frequently in their traditional jewelry designs.

Two of the three large abalone shells are antique ink wells from the late 19th century. I am always on the lookout for antique shell objects. There are many varieties of  vintage shell finds like shell sewing accouterments, shell ships and the classic shell cameo, to name a few.

I enjoyed adding some other beach finds, like the odd shaped flat rocks, Japanese floats and several odd shells. In addition, miniature antique books create some interest and make a great little background for found-object arrangements.

Earlier this year we received a special request from Michele B. She wrote, “I am wondering if a “God Bless America” pin is or will soon be available? I have the angel and with a son deploying overseas soon; I thought it would be nice to wear a pin of the heart draped with the flag while he is gone.”

We made the pin for her and were inspired to add it to our Summer Pin collection.  This way others can wear the God Bless America Pin to honor a loved one that is or has been deployed or to celebrate the freedom and blessings of our country. And it’s being introduced just in time for the 4th of July, but it’s good for all year round!

I found these four green shell plates at the Antique Mall in Lincoln City, Oregon! They make the perfect unifying backdrop for four diverse sea- themed objects.

I used antique green marbles to crown both of the sea urchins; just for fun!

On the third plate I have a large tiger cowrie shell. It has the entire Our Father carved on the surface and is from the late 19th century.

The fourth plate holds a collection of shells encased in a glass sea urchin. It was originally sold as a souvenir from a little beach town in New York state.

The larger purple sea urchin came from The Shell Game, a shell shop in Cloverdale, Oregon. I also found the sea urchin that I used to design the Sea Urchin Tea Light. The sea urchin lamp is cast so thin that every detail is illuminated when the candle is lit. Light up your summer evenings with this soft patterned glow

What’s more beautiful than fresh flowers in your home? This time of year I don’t have any large flowers blooming or large amounts of blooms. So, this is a great time of year to make small, sweet bouquets.
This morning I went out to the garden and picked pansies and some lovely patterned leaves. A good trick to making a great bouquet from your garden is to arrange as you pick. Instead of picking a bunch of flowers and taking them inside to rearrange, I arrange them one-by-one, in my hand, as I am picking them.
I used one large leaf as a frame for each small bouquet. To secure the arrangement, I wrapped wire around the stems to hold them together and preserve the arrangement. Any type of thin wire works.
When I got inside, they were ready to drop into water. I chose two antique chemistry beakers. I’m a huge fan of antique chemistry glass. I always keep an eye out for them at second hand stores and antique shops. They make such elegant vases!

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