Monthly Archives: July 2015

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Heirloom Finds Loves Pets!

You probably already know how much we here at Heirloom Finds love jewelry. What you may not know is that many members of our staff are dedicated animal lovers and pet parents. This week, we asked the crew to submit photos and stories about their furbabies. Get ready for some heartwarming cuteness!

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Taz at play and Gracie as a puppy.

Tazzie and Gracie are the spoiled babies of Heirloom Finds owners Kim Williams and Jeanne Peters. Taz the Jack Russell Terrier (or as Jeanne calls him, “terrier of indeterminate origin”) was adopted from a neighbor about ten years ago, and Gracie the Boxer joined their home six years ago. The pair have since become unlikely albeit inseparable best friends and often accompany Kim and Jeanne to work at the HF offices. They spend most of their time sleeping on the job, with brief breaks for walks around the neighborhood and games of tug-of-war (which consists of Gracie dragging Taz around on the other end of a stuffed toy). Taz has a bossy personality and has never recognized that Gracie, who’s consistently gentle, is four times his size.

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Marne the lab mix is playful and full of affection.

Marnie, also known as Marnieduke, is Order Fulfillment Specialist Fran William’s lab mix. She was adopted from the Human Society of Parkersburg when Fran and her husband Tom were mourning the loss of Bonkers, their wonderful dog of fifteen years who had recently died of renal failure. As it turns out, Marnie needed the Williams as much as they needed her. Today, Marnie is affectionate, ornery, goofy and simply adorable as she enjoys the puppyhood she missed before being adopted. Fran reports that this sweet dog gives her family laughter, joy and lots of loving kisses.

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Puppies on a picnic!

Operations Associate Sarah Cline is the proud mama of three furbabies! Her smallest is a black apple head Chihuahua named Dewey. A friend that was sick with cancer gave him to Sarah when he was a tiny puppy that fit in the palm of her hand. Molly, a tan and brown ShiChi puppy, and Chubby, her long-haired brother, are the children of Dewey and a shih tzu named Maggie. Dewey, Molly and Chubby love playing, barking, wrestling and being silly.  They all have different personalities, with Molly being the troublemaker, Dewey playing the referee and Chubby charmingly copying everything Dewey does. Sarah and her husband love their dogs because they’re their best friends, and despite their orneriness always brighten the Clines’ day by just being there.

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Scooter originally hails from Portland, Oregon.

Data Specialist Joe Ryckebosch and First Blush blogger Sara Bir’s dog Scooter was about six years old when he was adopted from the Oregon Humane Society in Portland in 2007. Part Border Collie, part Jack Russell Terrier, Scooter is a loving, devoted pet who has always been bursting with highly focused energy. He’s slowed down quite a bit now that he’s older, but this extra sweet dog still enjoys long walks and chasing balls. Although he sometimes drives them batty, Scooter has become a valued part of his humans’ family. Joe, Sara and their daughter love how his companionship and open heart have brought them all closer together.

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Monk has grown from a skittish kitten into a playful furbaby.

Copywriter Sarah Clark’s cat, Monk, was adopted as a seven-week-old semi-feral kitten two months ago. Although she had a reputation for being skittish and hissy at the Human Society of the Ohio Valley in Marietta, Ohio, the brownish-grey tabby calmed down shortly after arriving at her new home. She now divides her time between playing with the multitude of toys her human parents give her and napping on the first available lap she finds. Sarah is a lifelong cat lady at heart, and absolutely melts when Monk, named for her chipmunk-like markings and a 1960’s garage rock band, runs to greet her when she arrives home from work.

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Devoted friendship and unconditional love? Yes, please!

Heirloom Finds would like to warmly thank our local Humane Societies for all the important work they do for the community. Looking for a pet of your own? Your best friend just might be waiting for you at your local animal shelter.

by Sarah Clark

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Lemon Curd Dresses Up Simple Summer Desserts

Just as jewelry accessorizes outfits, condiments can accessorize recipes. Around this time of summer when blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are abundant, a jar of lemon curd stashed in the fridge is the key to instantly dressing up quick and appealing fruit desserts.

Rich and tart lemon curd is the perfect foil for fresh and juicy berries, particularly blueberries. You can make up a batch using our favorite recipe below, or just buy a jar from the store. Once you have lemon curd on hand, you’ll keep discovering new uses for it. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Serve it with freshly baked scones or biscuits.
  • Whip heavy cream and fold in lemon curd; use as a filling for tarts, as in this recipe, or serve it in small dishes with berries and shortbread or wafer cookies on the side.
  • Swirl it into the filling of your favorite cheesecake recipe right before baking.
  • Layer it with whipped cream or yogurt and fruit for a classic fool.
  • Use dabs of it as a filling for thumbprint cookies.

We’re currently adoring these impressive but easy no-bake lemon-ginger ice cream sandwiches. Crisp and spicy ginger cookies soften in the freezer and provide a contrast to a smooth filling of lemon curd folded with premium ice cream. The flavor is decadent, but the portion size is perfect for when you want a satisfyingly cool and sweet nibble.

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These summertime faves are sweet and satisfying.

Easy Lemon-Ginger Ice Cream Sandwiches
From Linda Faus, former test kitchen director for The Oregonian

Makes small 16 sandwiches

These cool and refreshing four-bite treats hit the spot. They make a wonderful sweet midday snack or light dessert.

  • 1 pint premium vanilla ice cream, softened
  • 1/2 cup lemon curd, storebought or homemade (see recipe below)
  • 32 thin, crisp ginger cookies

In a medium bowl, beat the ice cream briskly with a sturdy wooden spoon until it is smooth. Return to the freezer for 15 minutes to firm.

sandwiches in tray to freeze

Be sure to freeze your sandwiches at least three hours before serving.

Lay 16 cookies, bottom-side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Using a small ice cream scoop, dole about 2 tablespoons of the ice cream mixture onto each cookie and top with the remaining 16 cookies, pressing to flatten slightly.

Clear out a space in the freezer where the sheet will lay flat. Freeze for at least 3 hours before serving. To freeze longer, wrap each sandwich tightly in plastic wrap and place carefully in a plastic freezer bag. Use within 2 weeks.

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You’ll love finding scrumptious new uses for this lemon curd recipe!

Lemon Curd
Adapted from Lynne Sampson for The Oregonian

Makes 1⅔ cups

It takes time to make lemon curd, but it can feel meditative to stand at the stove and stir. If you don’t anticipate using all of the lemon curd within a month, simply freeze half to use later.

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed and strained lemon juice
  • Grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 6 tablespoons butter

In a medium stainless steel, nonstick, or enameled saucepan, beat the eggs, yolks and sugar with a whisk until the sugar is mostly dissolved. Whisk in the lemon juice and zest.

Place the pan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly with a heat-resistant spatula, making sure to scrape the bottom and corners of the pan. The mixture will slowly turn more opaque and the spatula will start to make visible swaths through the mixture, 10 to 15 minutes. Keep stirring until the curd is as thick as sour cream and coats the spatula, 2 to 3 minutes more.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter until it melts and the curd is smooth. Pour into a medium bowl and lay a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the lemon curd to prevent a crust from forming. Chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours before using. Store the lemon curd tightly sealed in the refrigerator for 1 month or in the freezer for up to 1 year.

by Sara Bir

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An Interview with Actress Scarlet Sheppard

Heirloom Finds recently had the opportunity to coordinate with local body-positive portrait studio Hot Tomato Pin-up Academy and actress Scarlet Sheppard on a day-long photoshoot. Scarlet grew up near HF Headquarters in Parkersburg, West Virginia and graduated with honors from Columbia College Chicago’s theatre program. She currently resides in Southern California and can be found appearing in film, stage and new media productions. We caught up with her to ask her about her modeling experience and personal jewelry favorites.

How was your experience modeling for our recent photo shoot at Hot Tomato Pin-up Academy?

I absolutely loved modeling some of your newest pieces at Hot Tomato! There was so much gorgeous-ness to choose from; I wish we could have done at least a dozen more looks. I especially loved working with photographer Andi Roberts. She was so quick yet precise in setting up each shot. And now seeing the photos, how they’re lit and composed, I really see her vision and am extra impressed!

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Scarlet adds star appeal to these baubles inspired by Old Hollywood glamour.

What did you like about the jewelry you were modeling?

I’ll be honest, I don’t typically wear a lot of jewelry. I’m pretty petite (a.k.a. short!) and I think that’s made me shy away from accessories in general because they sometimes make me feel like a little kid playing dress up in her mother’s closet. But as glamorous and bold as each piece was, I didn’t feel overwhelmed by any of it. I was wearing the jewelry, it wasn’t wearing me! That’s true for each of the collections, even the uber glamorous Old Hollywood line. Each piece at Heirloom Finds has that vintage heirloom feel as though it’s been passed down from one chic generation of women to the next.

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Photographer Andi Roberts staged beautiful bohemian backdrops.

How did you come to be an actress and model? What do you like about the work you do?

Well, I started dancing with the local ballet company around age four and really loved that. Soon it became obvious that I loved performing in any capacity (a.k.a. I was a total ham) so when I was asked to do some commercials and print modeling around town, my parents supported me doing that although they were very careful not to become “stage parents.” I had to be motivated to do these things for myself. So I just auditioned for everything I could in the Mid-Ohio Valley and started planning a path towards acting professionally that inevitably took me to Los Angeles. Along the way, I’ve met various filmmakers and photographers who need models for their projects and kindly think of me. That’s been super fun and a bit of a surprise! I never thought I could model for real. My interest in acting and modeling both grew out of a love of dance, I think. Each is about placing yourself in a new world and allowing the stories of that world to move through you physically.

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Scarlet’s interest in acting and modeling grew from a love for dancing.

How would you describe your personal style? Do you have a special approach to fashion? What do you wear on a given day?

I love fashion and sometimes feel like a clothing collector, but I try not to take it too seriously. I wear things that make me happy! Maybe I’d call it “whimsical, cowgirl flower child?” That’s ridiculous, but accurate. I’m inspired by my favorite films and the actresses in them. I have these ankle laced gladiator sandals (which I actually wore for the boho collection photos!) that remind me a lot of the ones Audrey Hepburn wears in Roman Holiday when she gets her hair cut and eats gelato. I always have my trusty, brown leather, map-faced watch on with some kind of delicate gold bracelet alongside it. Or sometimes I’ll just let a big, colorful statement necklace do all the talking!

Do you have any favorite pieces from the Heirloom Finds catalog? 

YES! The Opalescent Fan Statement Necklace, Burgundy Warrior Tassel Pendant, Silver Spring Pastels Diadem Statement NecklaceStone Geode Statement Ring and the Rose Quartz Orb Topped Goldtone Cuff Bracelet are all in my suitcase at this very moment.

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Pursuing a career in acting or modeling? Scarlet recommends that you be ready to do your best.

Do you have any advice for anyone pursuing a career in acting or modeling?

Be easy and fun to work with! “Networking” is an icky word, but the more people you meet and show kindness to (in life, as well as in your career) the happier you’ll be and the more opportunities will come your way. Be on time, be excited to be at whatever photoshoot or audition or job or rehearsal the day presents you with. Be ready to do your best. Ideally, this will just come naturally because this type of work IS so much fun. But it’s still a job and sometimes you’d rather be in bed. That’s okay, but don’t forget to be grateful that you’ve been asked to come and play!

by Sarah Clark

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Swanky Summer Accessorizing

The Art Deco style flourished across the decades spanning the end of WWI to the end of WWII. You can find this eclectic style with its bold geometric elements that echo scenes from the Machine Age of the early 20th century in architecture, art and consumer goods. Our favorite aspect, of course, is the inspiration Art Deco gives to today’s jewelry styles.

The Art Deco style often summons up images of exuberant parties straight out of a Fitzgerald novel, but that doesn’t mean you need to wear Deco baubles strictly at Roaring Twenties parties. Instead, let the style enjoy some time in the sun this summer.

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This layered Deco style necklace is positively copacetic!

The layered look is in, so why not embrace it while letting your inner flapper girl shine? This necklace’s coppery finish combines perfectly with peach crystals, resin fans and a geometric design that’s astonishingly striking. We love that it’s so versatile, and can easily transform from edgy to boho with a simple change of costume.

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This nifty mint necklace is the cat’s pajamas!

Mint is a classic summertime color, and what’s not to love? Such a fresh pastel shade is perfect for shaking off the winter blues. This statement necklace’s exquisite fanning design and minty color scheme makes it the optimal choice for enlivening summer couture with chic Art Deco appeal.

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These ritzy dangle earrings glam up any outfit!

Whatever you do, don’t forget the earrings! The architectural Deco look of these gold-tone dangle earrings lends a touch of luxuriance to any ensemble. Need something a bit more formal for weddings or summer soirees? We have daring drop earrings to coordinate with nearly any extra fancy frock.

All in all, we’re stoked to celebrate the swanky style of modern Art Deco fashion all summer long. However, that’s not to say we aren’t also in love with the Deco jewelry of yesteryear. In fact, we’re thrilled to offer an exciting lineup of pieces that are either true Deco or heavily inspired by the movement in our vintage catalog. So whether you’re going full flapper for your next party or simply inspired to bring throwback glamour into your wardrobe, we’ve got the jewelry to make this season the Summer of Deco!

by Sarah Clark

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Make a Sweet & Tart Shrub, an Old-Fashioned Drink with a Funny Name

In the beverage world, shrubs are for drinking, not landscaping. Once commonplace during colonial times, shrubs have come back to American mixology with a vengeance. Simply a combination of ripe fruit, sugar and vinegar, modern shrubs are essentially brightly-flavored drinks for grownups. They slake thirst on a balmy afternoon, and while they can be mixed into cocktails, a simple virgin shrub over ice is utterly refreshing and satisfying.

Crafting shrubs originated as a way to utilize surplus seasonal fruit crops in the days before refrigeration or canning. Fruit and sugar were fermented together to make a slightly sour drink. The common technique now is to skip the fermentation and instead add vinegar to extend the shrub’s keeping quality, as well as add an appealing zip.

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Have an abundance of fruits or berries? Time to make shrubs!

Most any fruit can be made into a shrub, but it’s easiest to use berries or orchard fruits. Here’s a very basic step-by-step to have you shrubbing in no time. And the best part? It requires very little hands-on work.

Step One: Select and Prepare the Fruit

Here we’re using a mix of sweet strawberries and slightly tart wild mulberries. Rinse off the berries. If you’re using larger fruits such as peaches, cut them into smaller chunks. The fun of shrubs is their flexibility: you can easily use the fruit you have on hand. Our strawberries were still edible, but getting on the squishy side. Fortunately, a shrub is a perfect final destination for such close-to-the-edge fruit.

step 1 strawberries

Strawberries are an excellent fruit for making shrubs.

Step Two: Toss with Sugar

The amount of sugar you’ll need depends on how much fruit you are using, and how sweet that fruit is. The basic ratio for making shrubs, by volume, is one part fruit to one part sugar. That is, if you have two cups of fruit, you’ll need to add two cups of sugar. Feel free to adjust the quantities to fit your preference. For a more straightforward flavor that lets the fruit be the star, use granulated sugar.

step 2 mix with sugar

The basic fruit-to-sugar ratio is 1-to-1, but feel free to adjust.

Toss the fruit with the sugar, put it in a stainless steel or glass container, and cover it. At this point you can refrigerate the fruit overnight or let it sit out at room temperature for a few hours to macerate. You’ll know it’s ready when all of the sugar is dissolved and the fruit is slouchy and soft. If the sugar is not fully dissolved, just give it a stir and let it macerate for another few hours, or up to another full day.

step 2 macerated fruit ready to strain

Let your fruit absorb all the sugar before proceeding to the next step.

Step Three: Strain

Strain the liquid from the fruit. In the photo we’re using a fancy food mill, but a fine-mesh sieve or a simple plastic colander lined with cheesecloth set over a bowl will work just as well. Press down on the fruit to release as much of the liquid as you can. It will be sticky and a little syrupy. Some fruits give off more liquid than others, so your yield here could vary quite a bit.

step 3 strain

Strain your fruit using a food mill, sieve or colander.

Step Four: Add the Vinegar

You don’t want to be using harsh-tasting, distilled white vinegar in a shrub. Softer, less acidic vinegars like champagne vinegar, rice wine vinegar or most any fruit vinegar work well. Though a lot of recipes and procedures call for one part sugar to one part fruit to one part vinegar, we find that the amount of vinegar required can vary greatly. It’s wise to be conservative when adding the vinegar by using only a little at first, and then increasing the amount to taste. We got about three cups of syrup from our macerated fruit, and to that we needed to add only half a cup of white wine vinegar to get the right combination of sweet and tart flavors.

step 4 add vinegar

For best results, choose a champagne, rice wine or fruit-based vinegar.

Step Five: Chill and Serve

Your shrub will be very intense and possibly a little harsh when you taste it right away. No worries: think of it as a concentrate, or a base to be diluted. We like to let ours mellow in the fridge overnight so all of the flavors can settle in and blend. Your final result should be puckery and jammy.

The following day, taste and make any adjustments necessary by adding more vinegar or sugar. To serve, pour over cracked ice and add a little water or soda water. That’s it!

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Pour over ice, dilute and enjoy!

Step Six: Get Creative

There are a ton of shrub recipes out there that you can follow if this general method is too loosey-goosey for you. There are also many cocktails you can dream up to use with your finished shrub syrup (including one laced with moonshine, a cousin of the kombucha-based booch ’n’ hooch). You can find plenty of shrub recipes on Serious Eats, or in the book Shrubs: An Old Fashioned Drink for Modern Times. As summer progresses, you can experiment with cherries, apricots, plums or even pineapples. Whatever the case, once you taste the vivid flavors of a homemade shrub, we’re sure you’ll never go back to boring sugary fruit drinks again.

by Sara Bir

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