Independent Businesses Give Back – Thanks to Customers like You!

When you purchase from an independent business person or artisan your dollars are going directly to that person (minus a significant chunk to business taxes..oh my!) You enable them to support their families, to afford their homes, their food, their lifestyle.  More importantly, independent businesses tend to give back a greater proportion of their income back to their community and to other small businesses. Numerous studies have shown that shopping at independent or locally owned businesses causes a shift into how much money comes back into the community and makes a positive economic impact.  I can think of several other artisans we were able to support this year as well as many local shops and restaurants.  Personally, now that I depend on my customers both near and far for my livelihood I am so much more aware of where we spend our dollars.  It’s led to a more conscious consumerism in the materials I use (a lot more recycled!), the places we shop (more local or more independent/small businesses), and even how we get rid of things (more recycling, more donating, more giving to someone who can use it).

This year I was also able to contribute to several charities using profits earned from my jewelry sales  and since my business is my sole source of income now I wouldn’t have been able to do this without your support and patronage. Thank you to my customers for allowing me to give a little bit back.  Here is where some of the money spent went to.  I encourage you to also contribute to causes that help others such as these or others you may find:


The basic necessities are probably one of the most important ways to give.  Thanks to Harvest For Hunger my husband and I were able to donate every single time we went to the grocery store  right at the grocery store register by tearing off a $1, $5 or a $10 voucher and adding it to our bill.  (specifically our local Heinens!, a Cleveland based chain, so our dollars continue to help our community) Harvest for Hunger is one of the largest annual, community-wide food and funds drives in the nation  and it provides important and critically needed resources to local hunger relief organizations in twenty one counties in Northeast and North Central Ohio.


In the spirit of building small economic independence for others as well we were able to purchase many symbolic gifts through Oxfam unwrapped.  Oxfam’s Unwrapped catalog offers items that symbolically represent the organization’s lifesaving
work, and each purchase is a contribution toward Oxfam’s many programs that help people living in poverty
throughout the world. As a small entrepreneur I love how much of their work revolves around empowering people to help themselves better their lives from things like tools, seeds, animals and honey bees to help them make a living to things like school and computer training as well.  Oxfam helps individuals and communities make a living, protects women and children, and helps in times of emergency.

You even enabled me to help out my own mother with some cash flow when she was dealing with bills for cancer surgeries and radiation treatments (She’s doing much better now by the way!)

Other, however smaller donations were also made to the American Red Cross and the St. Jude Children’s foundation as well.

You may think next time when you buy a necklace or earrings it’s just a cute accessory but it’s really so much more, and the benefits of that purchase go farther than you even imagine.  Anytime you make a purchase from a small business be it a local shop or restaurant, or an etsy entrepreneur, or a tiny shop online realize you are strengthening the economy as well as helping others to lead empowered lives.  Thank you! Please continue to buy thoughtfully and meaningfully.


Jewelry on Wanelo, and lots more!

I just discovered and joined Wanelo. It’s like pinterest, but it seems even more shopping oriented, as instead of linking to everything on the web, you link to products and stores. I’m adding some of my jewelry from Valerie Tyler Designs and Miscellanea to share with others, but I’m also having a blast creating shopping and wish lists for the various styles I love. So far I’ve created a nautical list, a tribal list, a pattern collection, and a jewelry collection. There’s some seriously cute products on Wanelo, and I’m finding a lot of new online stores I wasn’t aware of as well as some favorites like Anthropolgie.

If you’d like to follow my collections on Wanelo check me out at

If you think I should follow some of your collections leave me your link in the comments and let me know why or what fits my interests! Thanks.

Valerie Tyler on Pinterest

I’ve been having way too much fun on Pinterest lately. Now that the internet has gotten so big and full of well…stuff, pinterest to me is a great way to filter out that which I’m most interested in, and a way to keep track of beautiful things. It’s great for wish lists, inspiration, shopping ideas and so much more. I often share jewelry from both my main line and my miscellanea collection so if you’d like to follow some of those pins come follow my on pinterest at

I also have boards dedicated to other handmade artists, crafty ideas, organic living, recipes, organization, parties and decorating, blog links and other goodies. Have a pinterest board yourself that I should follow? Let me know in the comments below. I’m always looking for others with similar tastes!

A Guide to Metals in Jewelry

Are you mixed up about what exactly you’re jewelry is made of when you see various metal terms? Here’s a small guide to help you get the value you are looking for

*Sterling Silver contains a minimum of 92.5% pure silver and usually 7.5% copper. The silver is mixed with other metals like copper to make it harder and more durable. Sterling silver does require careful storage and occasional cleaning to prevent tarnish.
*Argentium Silver is a sterling silver alloy in which some of the copper is replaced with germanium, while still maintaining the 92.5% rate of silver. It has a higher tarnish resistance.
*Silver plate is when a base metal like nickel or copper has a layer of silver bonded or plated over it. It can be a less expensive alternative to traditional sterling. The thickness of the plate determines how likely it is for the coating to not wear off.

Sterling Silver Earrings

*24 kt is solid gold, but it is extremely soft and not useful for jewelry. 18K which is 75% gold, 14K which is 58% gold, and 9K which is 37% gold are more commonly used.
*Gold Vermeil consists of sterling silver that has been gold plated.
*Gold-Filled is usually made of a brass or copper base metal covered with sheets of gold bonded to the base metal. The gold content is typically 1/20 or 5% of the total weight. With reasonable care, it’s relatively long lasting.
*Gold Plated has a thin layer of gold over various types of base metal. The gold may wear away if not properly cared for.

Be careful with gold as since it is a softer metal, it can scratch more easily, and is more likely to be harmed with heavy cleaning.


Platinum is actually rarer than gold and very durable, it won’t rust and most people find it very hypoallergenic.

Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, normally containing 2/3 copper and 1/3 zinc.

Brass Ring


Bronze is another alloy. It’s mainly copper, though it often has tin added. It’s a hard metal often confused with brass.

A strong metal, that contains a steel alloy. It usually has chromium to prevent corrosion. Surgical stainless steel is typically considered to be hypoallergenic.