Gentle Kindnesses and Tender Mercies

"I pray Heaven to bestow the best of blessing on this house...."
--John Adams

I once heard a story about an immigrant family who, after arriving in this country, owned virtually nothing but the clothes on their backs. They were living in a tiny shack that had stood empty for years. When a group of charity workers came by with food for this family, they were startled by what they found inside the shack.

The first thing they noticed when the door was opened to them was the old wooden floor--it was scrubbed clean and gleaming from a wood wax. The smell of apples and cinnamon wafted through the air from a simmering pot set upon a circle of coals on the hearth. A gentle fire crackled in the river-rock fireplace.

A large round table, in the center of the one room, was covered with a floor-length cloth of dark-green-and-white-checked gingham. (They later discovered the table was an over sized spool discarded by a cable company.) The windows were clean and framed by simple curtains, made from the same green-and-white-check fabric as the tablecloth. They hung, not from metal rods, but from thin branches of a willow tree.

"....let us face the tasks of living with joy and embellish ordinary days with comfort, beauty, and a renewed faith in the fact that the most precious things in this life are those things that no amount of money can buy."

The most amazing thing of all was an evergreen garland that graced the chipped plaster walls. It was composed of ordinary items from the local woods. Boughs of evergreen and pine cones were tied onto a length of heavy twine with torn strips of the same gingham fabric. it was looped into swags and hung just under the ceiling. It looked for all the world like an expensive wallpaper border. The ladies from the aid society were asked to sit down on what looked like a small backless sofa with bright red cushions. In truth, it was a series of wooden fruit crates, draped in a loosely fitted slipcover made of the same green-and-white gingham. The lady of the house graciously offered a drink of fresh water to her visitors, while thanking them for their generous gifts to her family.

Perhaps this is an extreme example, yet it beautifully illustrates the philosophy of frugal luxuries. With this attitude in mind, let us face the tasks of living with joy and embellish ordinary days with comfort, beauty, and a renewed faith in the fact that the most precious things in this life are those things that no amount of money can buy.

Excerpt Above From: Frugal Luxuries: Simple Pleasures to Enhance Your Life and Comfort Your Soul, by Tracey McBride, 1996


Warm Up To Autumn

Fall Into Autumn

"That I am here afore thy sight, For gifts and grace;

A burning and a shining light

To a' this place."

---Robert Burns

Give Your Home a Cozy Feel

Excerpt from Frugal Luxuries by the Seasons by Tracey McBride.

Once the first cold snap sends you to the cedar trunk to embrace the warm woolen blankets, you will know that the time has arrived to seasonally adjust your home.

Here are six simple ways to bring that cozy feeling into your home.

  1. Add warm layers to sofas and chairs by way of paisley or plaid throws, add attractive runners to visually warm tabletops and layer hooked or Oriental-style rugs on the wooden floors.
  2. Slipcover your down comforter in a warming cotton flannel and add colorful panels of fabric to the windows over your sheers.
  3. Remember to rearrange your furniture away from drafts and cold window areas, drawing the sofa or table up to the hearth.
  4. Now is also the season in which to stack the books you've been meaning to read on the coffee or side table. If you like, cluster your easy chairs around the dining room table. Or pull a small side table near the hearth for cozy games of chess or cribbage, or perhaps a small supper in front of a gently warming blaze.
  5. Cluster candles on a plant stand or stack in a fireplace to add visual warmth to a room. Place small votive candles in salvaged martini glasses all around your kitchen (add a bit of water to the bottom so the glass won't crack). This seems to help dissipate unwanted cooking odors.
  6. Borrow from nature and gather bouquets of fall leaves and fill wooden bowls with pine cones, colorful gourds and Indian corn.
Frugal Luxuries by the Seasons by Tracey McBride; published by Bantam Books, NY, NY, 2000


It's Never Too Early To Begin Thinking About The Wondrous Circle of Christmas and the Winter Holidays...

Photo: Tracey McBride

"I'm in the habit of looking not so much to the nature of the gift

as to the spirit in which it is offered."

--Robert Louis Stevenson


For the past dozen or so years,

I've been honored to be part of my friend Patricia Raskin's

POSITIVE LIVING holiday programs.

Recently, she's organized an...

online archive
for some of these shows.

If you're interested in hearing

a bevy of ideas about how to prepare for the holidays...

without breaking the bank (or losing your mind :)

please feel free to listen to them by clicking the link Below!

Tracey McBride: Frugal Luxuries By the Season

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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