Monthly Archives: February 2015

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Trending Now: Delicate Layers

Here at Heirloom Finds, we’ve been busy scouring the runway, red carpet and all the latest fashion magazines to bring you an update on the most recent fashion trends. We’re excited to announce that delicate layered jewelry is in! And, we have lots of styles, including every piece shown here, at HeirloomFinds.com

Dainty 14k 3

Three layered vintage gold necklaces create exquisite flair, with an emerald pendant, a diamond solitaire and 14K gold beading combined into a luxe look.

Rocking the layered look is as easy as it is versatile. Simply wear two or more glamorous gold or silver tone necklace chains together to curate a luxe look that’s totally crush-worthy. Mix it up with pendants, beaded stations and different chain types. Use both vintage and new necklaces to craft a look that’s entirely your own. The possibilities are endless!

Gold and Pearl Necklace

Three separate chains join together to create one stunning necklace accented with crystals, faux pearls and beautiful pendants.

Alternatively, styling necklaces that already come with multiple chains joined together at a single clasp makes achieving this fantastically dainty look fabulously effortless! We’re so thrilled to be offering several such necklaces with varying chain lengths embellished with crystal, faux pearl beads, bar pendants, tassels and more! All you need to do is select your favorite layered necklace and put it on to enjoy a whole day’s worth of looking exceptionally on-trend.

Hamsa Necklace and Rings

Curate a fantastically original look by choosing both vintage 14K gold rings and fabulous new styles to sport on your digits.

The chic layered look doesn’t need to be limited to your neckline. If you have a thing for blinging out your digits with dazzling baubles, consider stacking multiple rings together for a fantastic look your friends will envy. Simply combine a slender sparkly crystal bauble with some midi rings and perhaps a sweet iconic piece or vintage treasure to create a dainty look that will leave a lasting impression.

Wishbone Necklace 2

The delicate layered look: effortlessly darling and so gorgeously on-trend!

The delicate layered look is fabulous because it manages to be incredibly beautiful and amazingly versatile at the same time. Workdays, weekends and even evenings out make perfect occasions for sporting the dainty look. So layer away! Your wardrobe will thank you.

by Sarah Clark

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Throw Your Own Fabulous Sparkly Ladies’ Night Party

“What night is your Mom Prom party, again?” my husband asked as the countdown to Sparkly Ladies’ Night 2014 whittled down to single digits. “No, no, it’s not Mom Prom,” I replied. “You don’t have to be a mom to go. And Sparkly Ladies’ Night is a zillion times better than prom. Prom is for kids. It’s a letdown. This is fabulous.” We laugh. We hug each other. We make new friends. We cut loose. We indulge in wearing shiny, outlandish outfits. We strut our stuff in front of an appreciative audience: each other. We dance without reserve. We’re not there to impress anyone but ourselves.

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The concept is infectious. To combat the late-winter blahs, you can pull together your own Sparkly Ladies’ Night and glam it up; since the concept itself is the hook, you can make it as big or as intimate as you like.

The original Sparkly Ladies’ Night evolved organically. What started as a dinner date for eight close friends in the quiet town of Marietta, Ohio grew into a blowout celebration that marked its fourth year last December. It’s the brainchild of fashion and graphic designer Nikki Butler, who dreamt it up as an excuse to don the glittery clothes she never had a decent reason to wear. They booked a table at a local restaurant, with a casual yet luxe atmosphere. Butler wore jeans, a sequin top, and a fur coat, and some fabulous jewelry.

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Sparkly Ladies’ Night, the brainchild of Nikki Butler (far right), has evolved into a celebration of friendship, empowerment, and fun.

It’s the ultimate girls’ night out, and unlike a bachelorette party, there’s no agenda, no rights of passage; the focus is about the group itself. At our Sparkly Ladies’ Night 2014, there were straight women and gay women, mothers of five and women who are glad not to be parents. There were curvy women and thin women, women in their 60s attending with their grown daughters.

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Sparkly Ladies’ Night is a time to be outrageous and candid.

To make the annual party more of an occasion, Butler rented out an event space, booked a DJ and a bartender, and incorporated the talents of some of her gifted friends and women entrepreneurs—a floral designer who provided stunning arrangements, a pastry chef who shared beautiful and delicious desserts,  and a portrait photographer who captured the festivities for posterity

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Such a fabulous gathering deserves delicious treats.

Anyone anywhere could throw a Sparkly Ladies’ Night. You either get it or you don’t. Obviously my husband doesn’t, but this night is not about the guys, anyway. For those of you who do get it, here’s what you need to know:

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Pick a date that’s in the middle of an uneventful stretch of time. If you live in a cold climate, icky winter months are perfect. That’s when you need sparkle the most.  Oscar night is an ideal opportunity for styling your own brand of Hollywood shine.

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Invite people you love to be around. Ask your friends to do the same. The beauty of the concept is that its scope can be as intimate or grand as you want it to be.

Choose your spot. If you have a small group, make reservations at a local ‘fancy’ restaurant. If your group is larger, consider renting a venue. Remember that spending part of the evening in the public eye actually adds to the fun!

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Hype it up. Throw a clothing swap party a month or so in advance. Have event pages on social media platforms and post sparkly inspiration (for example, “Keep Calm and Sparkle On” memes or pictures of your sparkly style inspirations).

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Get your outfit together. Go grand with a fabulous new sequin gown or simply raid your closet and glam up your old favorites. A pair of shiny tights, a statement necklace and a stack of crystal bangles gives your standby little black dress a whole new spin.

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Take photos galore. And look at them later on when you need a lift.  Our 2014 Sparkly Ladies’ Night included a “selfie suite”—a corner of our party room with a silver backdrop where we could pose for impromptu group photos.

Nikki Butler overcame a difficult period in her life where she kept herself hid away. Now she has a successful career and a confidence that’s catching. It’s reflected in her Sparkly Ladies’ Night hashtag, #sparkleeveryday. “Sparkle,” she says, “comes from the inside.” But some outside sparkle certainly does not hurt.

by Sara Bir

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Taking on Chocolate Truffles at Home Is Easier than You Think

Finished Truffles

Create delicious chocolate truffles at home for Valentine’s Day or any occasion.

There’s nothing wrong with those red heart boxes of candy from the drugstore, but they’re filled with just that—candy, which pales in comparison to the intoxicating power and intensity of real chocolate truffles.

If you have access to good-quality bittersweet chocolate, you can make your own truffles at home that will blow most anything from a store out of the water. A gift of nine or twelve in a small box makes a sweet gesture for your friends or sweetheart, but they’re also wonderful to covet for your own brief moment of bliss.

As for the chocolate: don’t use chocolate chips on these, even if they’re good ones. Chocolate chips are coated with a non-melting coating to help them keep their shape in cookies, and they won’t make your truffles as velvety and smooth as you want them to be.

Alice Medrich’s Truffles Au Cocolat
From Alice Medrich’s cookbook Bittersweet

Makes about 64 truffles

These very French truffles use butter and egg yolks instead of cream, yielding a silky texture. The high amount of butter in the ganache makes it difficult to roll it into balls with your hands (the ganache melts easily in warm hands), so I like to cut the truffles into squares and leave them that way.

1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
10 tablespoons (1-1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
½ cup boiling water or freshly brewed espresso
½ cup best-quality unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably not Dutch-process)

  1. Once you’ve chopped the chocolate finely, line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper or foil, letting the ends of the paper extend out over the pan to create handles. Set aside.
    Step 1

    If you take the time to chop the chocolate finely, it will melt quickly and evenly. A serrated knife, not a chef’s knife, is actually the best tool for the job, because the serrations bite down into the chocolate and hold it in place.

    Step 7

    A properly lined pan will make it easy to remove the ganache after it’s chilled.

  2. Place the butter in 1-quart saucepan and put over medium heat, swirling the pan from time to time so the butter melts evenly. You want to get it not just melted, but a little hot; just when you begin to hear little popping sounds, dump all of the chocolate in at once. Stir to coat the chocolate with the melted butter, remove the pan from heat, cover, and let rest for two or three minutes.
    Step 2

    Put the chunks of butter in a saucepan over direct heat—no messing around with double boilers necessary.

    Step 3

    Dump the chocolate into the hot melted butter all at once.

  3. Stir the butter-chocolate mixture again, placing the pan over low heat and stirring constantly if you still see small bits of chocolate that are not melted; do not let the chocolate burn. Set aside.
    Step 6

    At first, the chocolate and butter will look like a huge mess.

    Step 5

    It will take a little patient, gentle stirring once you add the egg yolk mixture for everything to come together. Focus your stirring in the center of the pan at first, then widen the strokes.

  4. Place the egg yolks in a small stainless steel bowl and stir in the boiling water or espresso. Place the bowl over the saucepan of simmering water and stir the egg mixture constantly, until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Immediately scrape into the melted chocolate and stir gently (do not whisk or beat) until completely blended and smooth. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into the lined pan and spread evenly. Cover and chill until firm, at least 2 hours.
    Step 4

    The finished ganache is smooth and shiny.

    Step 8

    Pour the ganache into the pan and, if necessary, smooth it evenly.

  5. Sift the cocoa into a medium bowl. Remove the truffle pan from the refrigerator and use the liner to transfer the truffle sheet to a cutting board. Allow to soften until you can cut the truffle sheet without it cracking, about 30 minutes. Invert the sheet and peel off the liner. Cut the truffles into 1-inch squares or smaller and toss them in the cocoa powder to coat.
    Step 9

    Score the firmed-up ganache into small squares.

    Step 10

    Lightly shake the cocoa-dusted truffles in a wire strainer to remove excess cocoa powder.

  6. Store the truffles, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Remove from refrigerator about 20 minutes before serving to allow them to soften slightly.

by Sara Bir

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Warm Your Heart this Winter with Vintage Brass Brooches

Bird Brooch 2

This brass Art Nouveau swan brooch is part of a collection that’s sure to steal your heart.

One of our favorite things about Valentine’s Day – besides the great opportunities for wearing fabulous jewelry, of course – is the sweet iconography that has come to be associated with this especially romantic holiday. Vintage valentine cards with their imagery of lavish floral arrangements, cute flying cherubs and scenes of old fashioned courtship are just so heartwarmingly sentimental, you can’t help falling in love with their unique throwback charm.

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This lovely brass pin is all about old fashioned sentimentality.

Our newly released collection of vintage brooches was manufactured in Italy in the 1980’s using original antique dies dating from the Victorian and Edwardian eras, with some designs boasting heavy influences from the Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements. Some are fantastically on-trend for iconic Valentine’s Day fashion, while other reproductions are perfect for year-round vintage glam.  Their warm golden tones are perfect for brightening up your wardrobe on dreary wintry days, and the images they depict are sure to pique your fancy.

Pegasus Brooch

This Pegasus brooch has a romantic vibe that’s perfect for Valentine’s Day.

Cherubs, Kittens and Pegasus, Oh My!

Of course, no Valentine’s Day is complete without images of cupids and cherubs everywhere in sight. A glance backward in time shows that the same was true in the Victorian era. Cherubs dancing! Cherubs in flight! Cherubs grasping big red hearts! Our brass brooch collection stays true to the theme. Add in a Pegasus pin, and you’re all set for a darling Greco-Roman display of romantic winged characters.

Cherub Brooch

This vintage cherub pin perfectly captures the feel of Victorian valentines.

Vintage Valentine’s Day artifacts also boast a heavy focus on cats. Much like today’s internet fascination with furry felines, Victorian valentines of yesteryear showcase a wide array of all sorts of kitties. You’ll find soft-looking kittens in big bows looking oh-so cute, anthropomorphic cats standing up on their hind legs doing human activities and even particularly sophisticated ones dressed up in period costumes. If you’re taken with these comely creatures and need a Victorian valentine kitty in your life, look no further than this fabulous brass brooch!

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This Victorian kitty cat brooch is both cute and sassy.

Romantic Bohemian Beauties

One does not have to look exclusively at old fashioned valentines to get a sense of romance dating from the mid-twentieth and early nineteenth centuries. Examine works from the Pre-Raphaelite and Art Nouveau movements to find paintings of lovely long-haired ladies surrounded by flowers, often depicted in idyllic settings or framed by botanical graphic borders. This sort of imagery is highly romantic, and perfectly on-trend for this year’s revival of bohemian fashion. You don’t necessarily need to emulate the exact looks of these women by crafting DIY flower crowns or wearing dresses ranging from exceedingly elaborate to scandalously loose. Instead, fasten one of our reproduction vintage brass portrait brooches onto your coat or purse, put on a boho beaded fringe necklace or bangle stack and you’ll be well on your way to a hippie chic look that’s great for Valentine’s Day glamour or year-round panache.

Sunflower Girl Brooch

This gorgeous Art Nouveau brooch is replete with bohemian glam.

Creatures to Warm Your Heart

There is certainly a lot more to the Valentine’s holiday than retro cards and art history tableaux. Do you like elephants? Is your sweetheart a fan of birds? When gifting yourself or a loved one this Valentine’s Day, you have to be sure to find something charming that will be cherished for years to come. Taking your pick of our iconic animal brass brooches means that you’re selecting a sort of love token with staying power. Our Victorian elephant bauble is nothing short of fabulous, and a shining Art Nouveau bird pin makes a stunning avian addition to any vintage fashionista’s jewelry collection.

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The detailing on this iconic elephant brooch is exceptionally extraordinary.

This Valentine’s Day, warm your heart and your wardrobe with stunning vintage brass brooches with beautifully romantic iconic themes. They’ll enliven your mood through the last leg of winter, and will easily become favorite baubles for wearing all year.

by Sarah Clark

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