Gifts Under $40 from Etsy

Here’s the thing about Etsy. On the website, there’s this definition:

Etsy is a global online marketplace, where people come together to make, sell, buy, and collect unique items.

There’s no Etsy warehouse – just millions of people selling the things they love. We make the whole process easy, helping you connect directly with makers to find something extraordinary.

So it’s a great place to buy gifts because there’s a better than even chance there won’t be duplicates.  Whether you’re shopping for gifts for the home or jewelry, clothing, things for pets, artwork, you’ll find just the right gift.

Etsy’s Holiday Gift Guide has hundreds of unique ideas for gifts and you won’t have to pay a fortune, either.  Gifts for Him, for Her, for Kids, for Pets, and for Home and Garden.

A Few Suggestions

I’ve found a few examples for you, all under $40.  

Ceramic Pug Planter

Spanish Artist: Barruntando

This adorable pug planter comes from an artist in Spain!  Barruntando has been selling on Etsy since 2014 and has sold more than 12,000 handmade ceramics.  $32.80

Door Monogram

Etsy Shop “Ever Blooming Original”

This Monogram Letter for a front door is handmade and there are options…it can be wood or metal and in a variety of colors. The bow comes with it, too, and you can choose the color for that, too.

Collette, the shop owner, has been selling her handmade wreaths and door monograms since 2011 and has had more than 20,000 sales!  Impressive! The medium size monogram is $24.99.

Glass Pyramid Wind Chime

Etsy Shop “Bottles Uncorked”

A Bestseller on Etsy is this glass windchime. These wine inspired windchimes are one-of-a-kind and you can choose your colors.  Bottles Uncorked has been on Etsy since 2015 and have sold more than 11,000 pieces. This one is $19.79.

Here are some gifts that ship for free!

Pendant Necklace

Etsy Shop “Jules by JodiLynn”

This pendant necklace is created with Druzy stones. The website What is Druzy describes it this way:

Druzy is the glittering effect of tiny crystals over top a colorful mineral. It is beautiful when used in making jewelry. One of the perks to druzy stones is that they are not as expensive as big faceted gemstones and they have sparkle and great color and it can be cut into various shapes with ease.

These beautiful pendants are created in Canada. This one is $30.56 and shipping is free.

Sloths are all the rage, these days, and this Sloth Life Animal Quote hoodie is pretty cool. Ivy Apparel Designs is in the United Kingdom. They print on apparel for adults and kids, tote bags, backpacks, etc. This hoodie is $26.43 with free shipping.


Cinnamon Apple Christmas Stockings

Etsy Shop “South House Boutique”

South House Boutique, an Etsy shop in Missouri,  has a pretty snazzy collection of handmade stockings, tree skirts, and party banners and bags all with a rustic flair. They’re just beautiful. This collection is called Cinnamon Apple Christmas Stockings and they’re $37.00 with free shipping.

So there you go…check it out.

 Give one-of-a-kind gifts to everyone on your list. Check out the Etsy blog/journal for posts to answer all your shopping questions like:

  • Top Trends to Watch for in 2019
  • 30 Days of Gift Ideas
  • How To Set A Colorful Hanukkah Table
  • 7 Can’t-Miss Host Gifts from Brit & Co.

I hope this helps with your Holiday shopping but since we’re already into Hanukkah and quickly approaching Christmas, it’s time to make some decisions. Thanks for reading.

If you have any questions or great ideas to share, please comment or send me an email.

Stay tuned.

Cheryl K Logo

6 Simple Money Saving Kitchen Tips

Saving Money in the Kitchen – 6 Simple Tips

Photo by hue12 photography on Unsplash

I’ve been thinking about some of the little ways I’m saving energy and there are several items that I use that have become second nature.

Living in a small space is an added incentive.  That’s it. Nothing too expensive or fancy involved. Just plain old common sense tools. If it was good enough for Grandma, it’s good enough for me. What do you think?

Wire Whisks

Money-saving Tip #1

I’ve pretty much quit using my electric mixer. I’ve got a series of wire whisks that I just love and use almost all of the time. Different sizes and shapes. Great little tools.

  • Balloon whisks (most common plus they conform to the shape of the bowl)
  • Butterfly whisks (great for whipping egg whites & cream)
  • Ball whisks (especially suited for whisking in straight sided pans)
  • Spring whisks (good for stirring and whisking with an up & down motion)!
  • There are tiny little whisks and very large whisks. See examples of each below.

I use whisks for beating batters, eggs, sauces & gravies. Just about anything that has to be mixed can be done as easily with a whisk as an electric mixer.

Whisks combined with rubber scrapers and wooden (preferably bamboo) spoons are just as slick as can be.

A Variety of Whisks

With a variety of whisk styles and sizes, you’ll be sure to have just the one you need for whatever whisking needs to be done!

Energy Saving Kitchen Tips – YouTube Video

Here’s a really short video with excellent tips for saving energy (and money, of course) in the kitchen.

For example, only preheat the oven if you’re baking recipes that need to rise. If you’re cooking casseroles or meats, you don’t need to preheat. You’ll save energy (money) and your dish will be perfect.


Reusable Microwave Cover

Money-saving Tip #2

I bought one of the Tovolo collapsible microwave covers in California while we were housesitting because I saw it at a shop and thought it was a great idea as an alternative to using wax paper or paper towels. It worked great.

I gave it to a daughter when we left but picked up another one when we got home. I love it. The microwave stays cleaner, the food heats up better and I just throw it in the dishwasher. (Well, I don’t actually THROW it in, of course).

This cover is collapsible but I almost always use it expanded like in this photo but being able to store it flat is great. I just put it in the dishwasher or wipe it with a soapy sponge and it’s ready to go, again.

But there are others that work beautifully, too. Check out this selection:

Reusable Refrigerator Bowl Covers

Money Saving Kitchen Tip #3

My very clever sister-in-law gave me some of these last year and I’ve saved a ton of money by not buying plastic wrap. They’re plastic covers with elastic around the edge and they come in a bunch of different sizes. You do have to wash them but that’s not a big deal. A quick swish in some soapy water and then rinse.

I’ve seen a little wooden gadget made just for drying them – little posts attached to a base that you just hang the covers on while they’re drying.  I’m going to buy one of those.

Another alternative is to use waxed paper and a rubber band. I use rubber bands all the time, anyway. They’re terrific for holding spaghetti boxes closed after you’ve opened them. Or bags of snacks…all kinds of uses for rubber bands

Bowl Covers

Even if you have storage bowls and have lost the covers. These will do the trick! They’re inexpensive and will last a long time.

A dryer for your plastic bowl covers

You can also use these to dry plastic bags that you wash to reuse. AND they’re perfect for drying baby bottles. Get a couple of them!

No Twist Ties Needed

So when you open a bag of chips or a box of cereal, how do you keep the chips or cereal fresh? I use clothespins or rubber bands. But clothespins are my first choice. I even use them for resealing frozen vegetable packages if I don’t use the whole bag.

Here are four easy choices…inexpensive AND reusable. Win-win.

Cloth Napkins

Money Saving Tip #4

I don’t remember the last time we purchased paper napkins for use at home.

We’ve got lots of cloth napkins that we use every day. I’ve got dozens…all different patterns. We don’t fuss about whether or not they match when we’re not entertaining.

They’re better than paper and you can just throw them in the laundry. I don’t even iron them unless it’s a special occasion. You can pick up gently used napkins at thrift stores, too, but they might not be less expensive than buying new. A new set of 12 napkins is pretty economical.

One of my best friends taught me that using terry cloth washcloths is perfect when you’re feeding kids. They can just wipe their little mouths and hands which totally absorbs any moisture. Quite frankly, it’s a good idea for grown-ups, too.

I haven’t any idea how much money we’ve saved using cloth napkins but it’s got to be significant.

Buying cloth napkins is a smart money move!

“Real” Plates & Cups – Not Disposable

Money-Saving Kitchen Tip #5

We don’t buy paper plates or paper cups, either. I mostly use our everyday dishes even if we’re eating on the deck but we do have a couple of sets of unbreakable dishes, too.

My theory is that some poor woman, after serving a gazillion people at a family reunion and after spending hours washing the dishes, invented paper plates.

I don’t blame her. It was a brilliant idea and caught on quickly with milliond of other women. This may or may not be true. But it’s totally logical.

In any case, using “real” dishes will save a ton of money and trees and landfill garbage. Sure, you have to wash them instead of just throwing them out but with dishwashers, it’s just not all that hard to do. You’re always going to have a few things that have to be washed, anyway, and the dishwasher is much more efficient when it’s full, so it’s another no-brainer (in my opinion).

Buying reusable plates is another smart money move.

Which reusable product is the best to own?

So these are great products that help save money in the kitchen. Which do you use or do you think you’d use?

What are some ways that you save money in the kitchen? I’d love to include some of them here on this page.

I’ll update this page when I discover other ways to save money and energy all over the house!

Thanks for stopping by. As always, I appreciate your comments and suggestions.  Stay tuned!

Cheryl K Logo

How to Personalize a Small Space Rental

Photo by Gades Photography on Unsplash

The Challenge:

Renting rather than buying your home presents a new challenge. How do you personalize your small space while keeping within the terms of your rental agreement?

The primary challenge for living large in a small space is how to create a warm and inviting home while finding the best use for every square inch without creating clutter.

That’s quite a challenge in itself.  But it’s not impossible. It’s totally doable.

There are multiple ways to personalize a rented home.

This photo is of an apartment in New York City’s West Village.  It’s bright and open and only 500 square feet! By keeping the walls and most of the furnishings white, the apartment seems much larger. Pops of red and blue keep it from looking sterile. I love that rug!

Read on to see two takes on personalizing an apartment.


Two Identical Floor Plans – Two Unique Designs

I know you’ll enjoy the following Apartment Therapy video of two apartments in  New York City. They are both rentals. They’re in the same building three floors apart and have identical floor plans.

These two apartments are located in the Cherokee Apartments, a historic block of apartments in Gothic Revival style and built as a tuberculosis sanitarium.

The money was donated by Anne Harriman Vanderbilt and the architect, Henry Atterbury Smith, brilliantly designed the four interconnected six-story buildings to create a healthy environment for the patients.

Read about its history in this article on the Atlas Obscura website. It’s fascinating.

But I digress! Here’s the Apartment Therapy video that features these two apartments.

These two apartments are good examples of how to easily and inexpensively personalize a rental apartment.  Notice how just changing the wall color makes such a difference in the vibe of each apartment.  Also, one is pretty much a wide open space where the other has a separate bedroom.

So just imagine how you can employ these same small space ideas into your own tiny abode! Enjoy.

A Success Story on Apartment Therapy

I’ve just read a fabulous story about Emilie who transformed her small 752 Sq. Ft. apartment with contact paper and stencils and a little elbow grease.  She did a remarkable job. Check it out!

A Small Rental Updated With Contact Paper, Stencils, and More

IKEA to the rescue!

Here’s another video transformation of a small apartment. Ikea came in to help maximize this small space. The end result is quite inspiring.

This is the living/dining room, of course, but it’s the space where they spend the most time.

I love the table which can be used as a desk but expanded when you are entertaining. The wall mounted cabinets were a stroke of genius and created a perfect spot for the bicycles.

The only change I might suggest is that they swap out the sofa for a sofa bed or a daybed which could be used as a guest bed.

Did you know?

IKEA is named after the initials of founder Ingvar Kamprad, Elmtaryd, the farm on which he grew up, and Agunnaryd, the nearby village.


 Just so you know, is offering some great deals on furniture and they have dozens of sleeper sofas, for example. The sale goes through November 11th. (Affiliate)

Your thoughts?

How have you personalized a small home…rental or not. If you’ve got a great idea for personalizing a small space rental, please comment…add pictures, too, if you like!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and maybe found a couple of ideas to jazz up your own home. I’ll be sure to update this when I discover other neat tricks and tips.

Stay tuned!

Cheryl K Logo

How to Use Color in Small Spaces

What are the rules for using color in small spaces?Picture of a Color Wheel

There really are no rules, but there are a few guidelines that will help when deciding what colors to paint the walls or to use in your furniture or accessories.

We’re taught that dark or warm colors will make the space appear smaller and light or cool colors will visually expand the space. But that’s not necessarily so! 

Use Color to Create a Focal Point

Remodeling and Home Design

You’ll be able to jazz up a small space with bold or dark colors if you either use the color on a feature wall as a focal point or if you use the color in adjoining rooms.

Contemporary Living Room

Use a Bold Color in Stripes

Photo by – Look for living room design inspiration

Bold stripes on a neutral background is an excellent way to visually expand a room plus it will add a pop of color and draw the eye through the length of the space.

Notice, too, how the designer used four chairs and a round table to define that sitting area. The color of the chairs is echoed in the drapes.

Use the Same Color in Adjoining Rooms

Painting adjoining rooms with the same color will create the illusion of a larger space.  Or try using two or three different shades of the same color.  That’s a great idea regardless of the size of the rooms.  It’s always a good idea to keep the same basic theme throughout the home.

Using the same color in two rooms

Use Bold Colors for Furniture and Accessories

Using bright colors on furniture and accessories in small spaces will give you that pop of color that you desire without making the room seem smaller.

Bold, colorful upholstery, decorator pillows, vases, and drapes are all elements that can be used in small spaces.  Just remember to bring that color into the other rooms in some way, as well.

Notice how these red chairs draw the eye toward the end of the room?  That’s how to visually expand the space with a focal point using bold color.

Colorful chairs in dining area

Get a Punch of Color With Wall Murals and Artwork

Wall Murals and huge pieces of art are available so many places, these days.

I’ve never been brave enough to use wall murals in my decorating but now there are so many removable murals available that I just might give it a go. Because they are often removable, you don’t have to worry about getting in hot water with the landlord if you’re a renter.

This gigantic coral reef mural is available on Amazon (affiliate).  I’d say that’s a heck of a pop of color! They have dozens of them, though, so if this isn’t your style it’s not a problem.

I’d love to put a mural on a tall wall in my master bathroom. If I ever do, I’ll be sure to post it!  I love, love, love this leafy mural that I found on Etsy.

These are all handmade and come in a half-dozen sizes. Here’s what the overview description on Etsy says:

  • Handmade item
  • Materials: Peel and Stick, Environment-Friendly, Vinyl, Non-Toxic, Eco-Friendly
  • Made to order
  • Favorited by: 176 people
  • Gift message available


Add Color with Accessories

Pillows, flower arrangements, books, and other collections are a way to use color to tie a room together.

Adding a colorful area rug is a brilliant way to add punch to a room. Besides, rugs are an awesome way to define an area. Like this bright and beautiful rug from Etsy. I love it!

Experiment With Paint Colors

The best way to decide on a paint color for your walls is to purchase the 2-ounce samples that are available at all home improvement stores and paint stores.  You’ll be able to paint an area about 12″ by 24″ which is large enough to tell if it’s really what you thought it would be!

Here’s a fabulous illustration from of how just changing colors will totally transform a room.


Use color in small spaces judiciously but do it your way!

It’s your home and it should reflect your personality.  If your favorite color is purple, by all means, use purple…just maybe not on every wall!

Have you tried a unique way to incorporate color into your small space?  I’d love to hear about your experiences and whether or not this post helped you decide one way or the other so leave a comment if you like.

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Etsy Banner

Small Home Office Solutions

Location, location, location…


Whether you are self-employed, frequently work from home, or are a student, finding a place to work in a small space can be tricky.

  • It needs to be easily accessible, able to contain your work or study necessities and relatively private, depending on the situation.
  • You’d also need access to an electrical outlet in order to plug in a task light and cords for computer and printer, etc.

The little office in this picture is about as simple as it gets if you happen to have a staircase niche where you are able to tuck a small desk and chair.

This would also be do-able in a small closet.  You could remove the doors…or not. Shelves above the desk could store supplies. Again, keep in mind that you’ll need access to electricity.

The photo below illustrates how to create a study or office space where there is no closet or under-the-stair niche. 

This appears to be on a bedroom or dressing room wall as evidenced by the jewelry and a mirror hanging above the desk and illustrates that an area such as this can serve double duty.  I think it would be particularly good for a student’s study spot.

wall mounted desk area

Wherever you choose to create your small space office, it’s important to keep clutter at bay.  Being organized will make working from your home office so much more pleasant and you’ll be so much more productive.

Be sure to make it a pleasing area with wall art and a plant or two.

If you have the room, put in a comfortable chair. If your work chair is a comfortable chair, all the better! I call my comfy chair my “thinking” chair.  It’s where I go to brainstorm ideas. I can have a cup of tea and just let the creativity flow naturally.  It works!

Placing a plant on your desk or in your office space brings life into the space.  Plus plants are known for increasing air quality.

Speaking of live plants and how they increase air quality, check out my blog post about what to choose and why they’re healthy. It’s Best Plants for Small Spaces.

plant on desk

Ideally, your desk will face the door but if it doesn’t and you have no alternative, hang a mirror over the desk.  That will serve two purposes: it will spread any natural light that you have and it will satisfy a feng shui principle for creating positive energy.

desk with mirror

When you’re looking for desks, don’t just concentrate on traditional desks.  The ideas here in this post illustrate that you can use a shelf or a small table with a stool or a chair and you’ve got that office niche.  I do like a desk that’s a multipurpose piece.

Rochester console table

Winsome Wood Rochester Console Table

This Winsome Wood Rochester Console Table with one Drawer Shaker is a great example.

What’s great about it is that it’s truly multipurpose:

  • Place it flat against a wall to use as a desk.
  • Place one short end against the wall and it’s a perfect small dining table, too, with a chair on either side.
  • Try using it as a sofa table if the sofa is placed in the middle of the room.
  • It would be an excellent serving buffet when you have guests.

Pinterest Ideas

I’ve got 32 pins on my Desks for Small Spaces Pinterest Board that you might want to check out.  It’s amazing, once you get those creative juices flowing, how many ideas you’ll have!

Pinterest is an amazing resource for ideas. Look at my Small Space Solutions Pinterest Board, too. There are 173 pins there so you’ll likely find more suggestions that I didn’t put on the Desk for Small Spaces Board.

So there you go…some simple but effective ways to create an office or study space in a small room.

I’ve posted my choices for wall-mounted desks on my post Best Wall-Mounted Desks so stop there, too.  You might just find the perfect desk.

Please let me know in the comments below how you’ve solved this dilemma.  I’d love to see a picture of your small office.

Thank you for stopping by and stay tuned!

(Updated 10/2/2018)


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