Frugal Luxuries: Edible Wreaths From Nature's Bounty

Edible Wreaths

I made these wreaths for pennies

using dried Rosemary and Pepper berries

Rosemary bush from my Dad's house.

Pepper berries growing on my dad's pepper tree.

...snipped from my father's garden

Rosemary before I cut it into smaller pieces to make bundles for the wreath

After I made the Rosemary bundles (left) I tucked in a spring of pepper berries then tied it together with raffia.

...and wrapped into little bundles.

Dehydrated limes and peppers...

bought from a local family~farm~stand.

Limes, hand sliced and put in our dehydrator to dry over night. Notice the deep burgundy color?
It starts out amazing!!

The peppers were from the same stand for one dollar per bag.
Dehydrate them over night and all peppers will turn a very dark red (even the green ones).

Add a strand or two of wire...

a large darning needle

...a flutter of raffia

and you have the ingredients for creating lovely,

edible wreaths.


Give one as a gift unto itself

or add a wreath to enhance a kitchen~themed gift basket.

Or... keep one for yourself... to hang in your kitchen.

Snip off a bit of rosemary or hot pepper to add to a favorite recipe.

They will last for years...

but the Rosemary does tend to shed a bit as it dries.


don't forget to put on your favorite holiday movie

as your strand your produce into wreaths!!


Brita's Old Town Garden... The Lion~Cut ... and... "It's a Wonderful Life"

Last week...

Rosie, Katie and I decided to visit our local nursery...

Brita's Old Town Gardens...

to choose our Christmas tree!

As we walked into to this charming little nursery...

the girls spied a most adorable little creature.

I moved closer to see who they were fussing over and saw this furry face...

looking quizzically up at me.

I took a few minutes of my own to coo and cuddle this charming furry creature.

His owner said he was a Pomeranian (usually very fluffy dogs) who had been given...

a Lion~Cut... which... in my opinion... flattered him immensely!!

After tearing ourselves away we moved on to choose a tree

...and admire the paper~whites, Poinsettias and topiaries along the way.

We wandered through their forest of freshly cut trees

...only to discover an overlooked antique store

hidden in a little building behind the nursery!

This red door with it's festive wreath peeked out at us from the greenery.

A lucky Calico kitten scrambled by...

at our feet.

After a bit of musing (and some measuring)

we chose our tree.

Opting for a delivery later in the day...

we made our way towards home.

Driving away...

a few blocks down from the Old Town Gardens...

we spied something...

Could I be reading the marquee correctly??

My very favorite Holiday movie was playing at the Old Bay Theatre...

The last showing of the year was the very next night!!

At 8:00 P.M. on Wednesday...

Mike, Rosie, Katie, some friends and I gathered

to enjoy a BIG SCREEN viewing of Frank Capra's miraculous movie...

"It's a Wonderful Life."

We laughed...

we cried...

we cheered...

we clapped and yelped applause.

It was a wonderful ending to a wonderful couple of days.

Wish you could have joined us.

Tracey and Family



The Frugal Luxuries Philosophy of Gift~Giving and 8 Gift~Giving Ideas With Frugality in Mind

The Frugal Luxuries Philosophy of Gift~Giving

The Season For Saving:

8 Gift Ideas With Frugality In Mind.

The following is an excerpt from
Middletown Transcript.

"The holiday season is upon us, but with the continuing concerns about the economy, many people are looking for ways to cut costs when it comes to gift-giving. Tracey McBride, a frugality expert and author of several books, including “Frugal Luxuries by the Seasons,” says the key to not overspending is to plan ahead and develop a budget. Put a lot of thought into your gift-giving instead of focusing on spending a specific amount. Here are her ideas for practical, inexpensive gifts for the holiday season:

Gift baskets
Rather than buying an expensive gift basket at the mall, make your own, developed around a theme. For a “breakfast basket,” buy a basket at the dollar store and shred paper for the filling. Buy pancake mix and package it in a pretty bag. Cook your own syrup (water, sugar and flavoring) and bottle it in a jar. Add inexpensive plates and bowls and a mixing spoon. For a fruit basket, fill a crate with local, in-season produce and a few pieces of chocolate.

Sweet treats
Buy apothecary jars and fill them with store-bought or homemade treats. You can buy chocolate, caramels or candies in bulk, or make goodies such as peanut brittle or caramel corn.

Tea and coffee
Take an old cigar box and paint it white (or another color of your choosing). Buy a variety of tea bags at the grocery store and repackage them in the cigar box. You can also include a couple of tea cups or a tea kettle. Similarly, for coffee lovers you can pair coffee beans (which you can buy in bulk at a discount store) with a couple of mugs and a few chocolates.

Plants and herbs
You can buy plants, bulbs and herbs at a garden supply store. Replant them in tumblers, which can be found for less than $1. Package them in clear cellophane bags tied with a ribbon.

Family photos
Take treasured photos to a copy store and get them reprinted on high-quality paper. Buy inexpensive frames at a discount store. You can also compile favorite photos in a nice album.

Second-hand clothes
Head to a consignment store to buy clothes, which can work especially well for the kids on your list. Children’s clothes are often barely, if ever, worn. McBride also suggests shopping on eBay or She buys her daughter’s favorite Juicy Couture hoodies (which retail for about $100) on eBay for an average of $20 each. She’s also used eBay for electronics and American Girl accessories.

Recipe book
Gather your family’s or your friends’ favorite recipes and compile them in a recipe book. This can be done inexpensively if you print the recipes out from your computer or write them out and put them in a recipe box. Make your gift recipient’s favorite dish and give the food and book at the same time.

Regift family heirlooms
While some would consider regifting to be in poor taste, McBride says regifting with thought can be extremely heartfelt. One of her most treasured gifts was when her parents gave her their silver tea set for the holidays. If you’ve thought of passing down a family heirloom, the holidays are the time to do it.

TIP: If you tend to overspend on your kids, McBride recommends setting a price limit for each child. Find out each child’s “must-have” gift, buy it, and use only the leftover money in that child’s budget for the other gifts. Most of all, be creative. McBride says learning to give frugally is a complete change in mindset, but giving is more fun and easy once you shift your perspective.

To read more, please click the link below.
The season for saving: 8 gift ideas with frugality in mind - Middletown, DE - Middletown Transcript


Holiday Budgeting

Holiday Budgeting

"You can't appreciate home till you've left it,

money till it's spent..."
--O. Henry


Lazy Bee Farm & A Virtual Tea Party

Matty, at
Lazy Bee Farm
is having a virtual tea party today!



" Kindness is a language...

which the deaf can hear...

and the blind can see."

--Mark Twain


Hello to all kind-kindred souls!

We've had a bit of a computer problem these past days...

just now getting things sorted out!

Hoping to post more very soon!

Sending out very Good thoughts to you all, as always.



Style Me Pretty - The Ultimate Wedding Blog

Photo: Style Me Pretty


When visiting my friend Charmaine's lovely blog...

Beautiful Things To Share

I discovered this charming wedding blog called

Style Me Pretty

We're not planning a wedding any time soon..even still...

the photographs and ideas are too lovely

not to share with you!

(Thank you Charmaine!)


A very Warm...

Thank You...

to each of you kindred souls who entered the Giveaway!!

It is a pleasure to mingle minds with you !

In fact, it's been so much fun...

Look for another Giveaway very soon!!

Congratulations to Kath...
you were randomly chosen as the winner of Frugal Luxuries by the Seasons !

P.S. Click HERE to learn the winner for Frugal Luxuries!


CrazyBusy Mama! (Dot Calm) » A Few Quick, Frugal, and Fun (and Very Last-Minute) Halloween Ideas

Need Last Minute Halloween Ideas?

A Frugal Costume...Quick?


For money-saving, last minute tips

(and a fun story!)...


Crazy Busy Mama! (Dot Calm)

To get there just click the link below!


An Upcycled Christmas - PSFK


No one has to tell Frugalites like you and me that

Christmas gift-giving needn't be about spending lots of money

and buying the latest hot trend!

That being said,

it seems that our philosophy

may be...

catching on!

Folksy (a kind of UK based Etsy)

and Sue Ryder Care (a health care charity) are running a competition

called Upcycle Christmas.

The goal of the contest is to

transform second hand goods into

fresh new creations suitable for holiday gift-giving.


While this competition is geared toward (but not limited to)

those living in the UK,

it's lovely to know that there is a thought-shift taking place.

Who knows...

Perhaps Etsy will be next?!!


If you would like to learn more please click the link below:


'Tis the Season for Another Book Give-Away!!

Enter to win by subscribing to this blog and leaving a comment below (it needn't be long :)!

If you care to share a favorite holiday idea or two, we LOVE LOVE LOVE to read them, as always.

P.S. We're also giving away our first volume of Frugal Luxuries
on our other blog--just click HERE to see how easy it is to enter that one too!


Please Feel free to... enter BOTH contests!!

This was my intention when posting them at the same time (doubles your chances to win!)!!


We will be choosing our winners NEXT SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 1ST and announcing them on the 2nd!!

Oh... Just...One more thing...

Please know that you're more than welcome to LINK to this page (or any pages on the blogs)!! We appreciate your sharing, support and kindnesses very much. x0x


Celebrate Holidays with Elegance & Simplicity -- On Any Budget

Celebrating Gracious Moments

"To invite a person into your house is to take charge of his happiness

so long as he is under your roof."

--Samuel Johnson


The ancient Roman philosopher Seneca

set a table of humble yet delicious foods before his friends

and asked...

"When shall we live if not now?"


Do not wait for that longed-for

someday to savor the blessings of Celebration.


The house need not be perfectly decorated or tidy...

the china...

& silver

need not match...

the foods do not have to be grand or expensive.


All that is necessary to pleasantly enjoy the company of family and friends is to...



This affection will be made visible

in thoughtfully prepared foods presented in a warm and inviting setting.

The text above are excerpts borrowed from the books Frugal Luxuries, 1997, Bantam Books, NY

and Frugal Luxuries by the Seasons, 2000, Bantam Books, NY. Written by Tracey McBride.



FREE Printable Pumpkin Stencils...


Better Homes and Gardens site is offering Free Printable Pumpkin Stencils!!

I love the look as well as the idea behind a stenciled pumpkin!

Not only can it save time, because you don't have to cut and carve it,

a stencil simplifies the task of cooking your pumpkin

once you're finished using it as a decoration!

(It also gives the gift of time.

The nature of nature is...

once your pumpkin has been cut and carved

you will need to cook it within about 24 hours.)

We usually boil or roast our pumpkins after the autumn holidays have passed

to create our own pumpkin pack

for delicious homemade pies, pumpkin breads and cookies!

(Simply peel or pare off the painted section of skin before cooking...

we wash it off if the paint is water soluble or use a potato peeler or paring knife

if the paint is more durable.)

Use the FREE patterns to create cute -- or creepy -- pumpkins that will surprise your guests. Simply log in at (or register -- it's free), then open the PDF pattern and print. Size the pattern on a copier if needed. Tape it to your pumpkin and poke the outline of the pattern with a pin before carving your masterpiece!

Or... do as we do and paint within the stencil to create your design,

using non toxic paint such as Tempera

(the type preschoolers use)


a black magic marker!



(Once you're there, simply print our handy PDFs,

then size on a copier and transfer the design to your pumpkin and have fun!


"The Pleasures of Homemaking" Book Give-Away!

Photo: The Pleasures of Homemaking

Amazing Manuela is hosting a give-away
at her inspiring blog
The Pleasures of Homemaking

and I am honored that she chose one of my own books to be part of the give-away package!

To enter to win a copy of "Frugal Luxuries by the Seasons" and

Jonnie McCoy's fantastic and encouraging book,

"Miserly Moms"

just pop by and visit Manuela's blog and leave a little comment under

the give-away post.

While you're there,

I know you'll want to spend a lot of time browsing through

Manuela's creative and inspiring blog

but beware...

she has so many great ideas that her blog becomes addicting!!


The Year We Had No Money For Christmas

I found this inspiring little story over at TIP HERO

(another favorite resource for frugal ideas).

Please click the link below to read...

The Year We Had No Money For Christmas


Do you have a story...

or two...

about ways your family handled (or handles)

Christmas and the Holidays

during a very lean year?

We would be honored and
blessed if you would

share them with us.


Shared via AddThis


Autumn's First Festival...

Labor Day
"In all labor there is profit..."

The noblest thing in the world is wise and honest labor. Labor is the powerful magician that brings order out of chaos, transforms barren deserts into thriving cities, and produces works of genius from all fields of endeavor, be it the creation of grand architecture, powerful prose, tilled and cultivated soil, a clean cottage, or a home-cooked meal.

In ancient times all, including the wealthy, labored in their own kitchens and fields. In the Bible, Abraham and his wife Sarah are early examples of the dignity found in toil. And during the infancy of the United States, George and Martha Washington, although they were quite well off financially, set fine examples for industry and frugality.

There is a dignity in all honest labor that makes it beautiful and mighty. And if we remember that all true luxuries and achievements are the result of labor, we understand that nothing great can ever be accomplished without it. Thus, the first Monday in the month of September (In the United States and Canada) has been established as a special day on which to remember and honor this worthy quality, and those souls (past, present and future) who exemplify it.

Take from Frugal Luxuries by the Seasons by Tracey McBride.
Published by Bantam Books, NY, NY, 2000.


FYI: We originally posted this on the third of but it didn't show up until just now!


Random Acts of Kindness: The best kind of frugal luxury @ Saver Queen

This morning...

while thoroughly enjoying my second cup of Trader Joe's Italian roast coffee...

I took a browse through some of my favorite reads in Bloglandia

and came across Saver Queen's goose-bump evoking post...

about a mini-miracle (pun intended ;) found in a random act of kindness.

She starts by observing that...

"Living on a frugal budget means looking beyond material possessions in order to find fulfillment, inspiration and joy. The frugal life requires more attention to “natural highs” that come from natural beauty and the many joyous experiences found in simple moments.

It has also made me pause with gratitude to think of the random acts of kindness I’ve been a recipient of. There have been a few spectacular ones, but only one that really had a major impact on my life...."

Click the link BELOW to finish reading this charming, heartwarming story...


Enhancing the Wardrobe: FREE Vintage Sewing Patterns


over at...

Craft Gossip .com

has an amazing post today linking to a GREAT offer.

Limited time only: Free access to vintage pattern database!