The Simplest No-Sew Window Treatment






Our north facing kitchen needed the reflective light from this mirror.
Because it was too small in proportion to the room, I flanked it with retro wooden shutters
and covered the difference with this fabric valence made from the blue and white ticking fabric that covers our kitchen/family room couch.
The fabric valance mirrors the treatment on the authentic window in the room.


Choices and Life Paths

" The difficulty in life is the choice."
--George Moore, The Bending of the Bough
Each of us must choose our own style of simplicity and make a plan to obtain it. The simplifying process materializes when you plan your finances and activities to harmonize and deliver you to your goals. How many people drift along in life because they have no plan? They have not synchronized their efforts with their aspirations. Living in this manner is the opposite of living simply.

How do you go about unburdening yourself from material and intangible excess? Begin by mapping your life's path instead of leaving your life to chance. Does it seem incongruous with simplicity to map you life's path? I will admit that the idea may seem odd (since planning conjures the illusion of complexity), yet on close inspection the logic is glaringly simple and true. Just as words do not leap from the dictionary to form books, successful, happy lives do not happen into existence. They have been thought out, planned for, and acted upon. You can do this by taking control of your actions. How do you take control of your actions? By taking control of your thoughts. Your thoughts control your actions, although many people are not consciously away of this. Every human action exists because it was first a thought.

The logical next question--how do you control your thoughts? Begin by reflection upon you current thinking. Answer these searching questions.

What kind of person are you?

  • Are you constantly bitter and unhappy about the people and circumstances in your life? Or do you take responsibility for these things, happily using your resources, thoughts and energies to go forward on your life's path?
  • Do you strive for excellence, or do you settle because of a lack of passion in your life?
  • Are your thoughts and options formed for you by others, or do you take the time to clearly think out opinion, ideas, problems and solutions?
  • Do you dwell on past misfortunes and mistakes, or do you understand that your past does not equal your future?
  • Do you hold a grudge? Or do you release negative attitudes and keep your thoughts focused on what is very positive?
  • Are you consciously guiding your life, or are you adrift on the ocean of your experiences, thought, and actions?
  • Do you blame others for the unhappiness in your own life, or do you take responsibility for your own thoughts, actions and circumstances?
  • Can you delve deep into your soul and take an honest look at how you have been living and make a decision to become master of your own happiness?
  • Do you understand that each individual has the free will to forge his own thoughts, even under the most difficult circumstances?

By managing your thoughts with clear thinking, you will create your own happiness. Conversely, negative thoughts, combined with lack of faith, will inhibit the growth of inner and outer contentment.

Excerpt taken from Frugal Luxuries, Bantam Books, 1997

Simple Choices


"...all the loveliest things there be come simply so."
--Edna St. Vincent Millary
The following is an excerpt from Frugal Luxuries, Bantam Books, NY, 1997

“And there is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness and truth.”
—Leo Tolstoy

Simplicity is the kind of word that soothes. Why? Simplicity is a desired state. Most of us want life to become less complicated than it is, and we think simplifying our lives will bring us happiness. Yet true simplicity is much more than a trend or a swing of fashion. True simplicity is eliminating both material and intangible excess, and conserving time, energy, money, and thoughts. It is using the resources you possess in a way that will take you toward your dreams, your goals—your desired future.

GENUINE SIMPLICITY will help you become the person you long to be.
There are varying stages of simplicity. When I speak of simplifying, I am not advocating the adoption of austerity. Individuals must dictate their own measures of luxury and simplicity. Strike a balance in your life that will leave you free to perform the tasks that will allow you to realize your personal vision of happiness—be it farming an acre of land, creating a multimillion-dollar conglomerate, or simply staying home to nurture the children you have brought into this world.

The hallmarks of simplicity are not found in the lack of things, nor are they found in the possession of them. Simplicity is a thought process—a love of the unpretentious, easy, and informal. It displays itself through attitude, personal style, and appreciation of the (tangible and intangible) world around us.

Simplicity may be either elegant or austere. On one end of the spectrum you will find those who choose a monastic lifestyle, keeping the appropriation of money and possessions to a conscious minimum. On the other end you will encounter those of us who embellish our lives by cultivating frugal luxuries.



This is our first excerpt in a series, taken from our book, Frugal Luxuries (Bantam, 1997).
"The good old rule....the simple map."

Just as choosing random articles of clothing in the morning may result in a jarring clash of colors and patterns, random spending can result in a chaotic financial situation that will leave you feeling disempowered and out of control. To live your financial life on instinct alone could cost you more than money--it could rob you of the future you've always dreamed of.
If you do not currently follow a budget, now is an excellent time to establish one. If you already map your money, perhaps you’ll want to reexamine your spending patterns, priorities, and goals and adjust your map accordingly.

A money map should answer the following questions:

How much income do you bring home?
How much money do you spend each month?
How much money do you need for basic monthly living expenses?
How much money will you have after basic expenses are met?
In what way should you use the remainder?

There are also three important questions that you must ask and answer:

Am I spending less than I earn?
If so, am I reducing or eliminating debt, and saving or investing the remainder?
If not, what can I do to reduce my monthly spending in order to spend less than I earn?


Holiday/Seasons Blog is Up!

Hello Good Souls.
Just a note to let you know that I've got the Holiday/Seasons blog up and running. I will be posting tips on how to prepare for the holidays and Christmas (especially gift giving) so that we won't be hit especially hard in the bank account when December rolls around. Please feel free to visit at I'm still working out some of the kinks on both blogs, but eventually there will be lots of great ideas from the book, photos and FRESH IDEAS galore! I'm really excited to share them with you, but I'm doing these blogs around my life...which includes (number one) taking care of my family. Included is:
  • our youngest daughter Rosie (she just started her Junior year of high school a few weeks ago - our older two children have left the nest)
  • my best friend and husband, Mike
  • we all help a lot with Mike's mom who will be 87 in a few months
  • my dad, who is doing well, thank Heaven. Sadly, we lost my mom to complications of Multiple Sclerosis two years ago in October.

So much of the reason I haven't been doing any fresh books or "career building" during the past several years is that I dearly wanted to spend time with my family while I had the chance. Looking back, I have absolutely no regrets regarding that decision. I know I've said it many times before but, it's worth repeating...

"...remember what is truly of value in our lives--

our time, our loved ones, our inner sense of prosperity."

As is my way, I do digress. Thank you for visiting and please look for our holiday posts on the ....Seasons blog if you think they might help you or someone you know.

Warmly, Tracey and Family




With the holidays looming, we're working on our sister blog, based on our second book: Frugal Luxuries by the Seasons: Celebrate the Holidays and Everyday With Elegance and Simplicity--On Any Income, also published by Bantam Books (November 2000).
We'll let you know as soon as it's up and running. In the meantime, please forgive us as we bungle around learning the ins and outs of blogging.
Warmly, Tracey and Family

History of Frugal Luxuries: A Non Fiction Fairy Tale

"Frugal Luxuries is destined to become the classic on how to
live every day with a sense of abundance, beauty and luxury
--Emily Heckman, 1997
...long ago (1993), there lived a young mother with three small children who said some very shocking things. She conjured up a philosophy which allowed people to enjoy gracious living (a'la Martha Stewart) in spite of an extremely limited budget (a'la Amy Dacyzn). At the time, this concept was considered unrealistic, if not ridiculous. Few people actually believed you could create a gracious lifestyle on a small budget. It was one way or the other~open acceptance of the frugality philosophy, or gracious living, but "never the two shall meet."
Happily, the silence was gently broken. The first publications to openly celebrate this synergy of opposites? Our own newsletters, Frugal Times: Making Do With Dignity and Frugal Luxuries; as well as our first book, Frugal Luxuries: Simple Pleasures to Enhance Your Life and Comfort Your Soul, published in October 1997, by Bantam Books, NY.
Frugal Luxuries. The title says everything. It became a voice for those who sought to openly celebrate common sense, simplicity and frugality ~ while living a beautiful life. These kindred spirits created an entire movement which swept frugal luxuries into the scope of acceptability. Today, the philosophy of frugal luxury has been so widely adopted and embraced that it seems to have always been.
More Than a Decade Later...
....and is Now More Relevant Than Ever.
After a period of affluence we are all, once again, facing cutbacks and uncertainty. It is my hope that a new generation, faced with a teetering economy, will also find it helpful. With good thoughts and intentions, we will be using this blog to share our best, most useful ideas for rising to the challenge of these budget-crunching times; keeping our focus on what matters most. Of course, expect us to share and quote generously from the original Frugal Luxuries (we own the copyright ;-) and revive some of the wisdom from our classic newsletters.
Moreover, we will offer an abundance of fresh and helpful ideas we've collected over the past several years. Why are we giving this information away? Because now is the time for helping; for passing along useful, half-forgotten skills and practical concepts to those who have not yet learned them.

If You Find Useful Information Here...
That's all, there is no catch. This one thing we can offer. If it helps, we're all blessed.

To Be Continued....

The original "FRUGAL LUXURIES" ~ Based on the books by Tracey McBride ~ Established 1993

A warm Thank You to all kind souls and kindred spirits who generously take the time to leave a comment...your encouragement, trust and support are deeply appreciated...please know that we read each and every message and will respond as time allows.


Frugal Luxuries
is a registered trademark.


"FRUGAL LUXURIES: Simple Pleasures to Enhance Your Life and Comfort Your Soul" was written by Tracey McBride and published by Bantam Books, NY, in 1997. It was the first of its genre to synergize the elements of simplicity, frugality and gracious living.

After more than a decade, FRUGAL LUXURIES has never been out of print and is now more relevant than ever.

"It's our hope that a new generation, faced with a teetering economy, will also find this information helpful and enlightening."

Sending Good Thought to Our Special Band of Kind and Kindred Souls!

Frugal Luxuries Book I

Frugal Luxuries by the Seasons Book II

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