Monday, August 31, 2015

Park Slope Brownstone

Enjoy these photos of a lovely brownstone in Park Slope, NY, by architect Michael Schmitt. Old meets new in beautiful ways ... the woodwork, the curved doorways, the wood floors and  exposed brick. I could do some serious cooking in that kitchen. The exterior of the back of the home is modern, but not too much so. What do you think? Is this home your style?

Devon Banks, Photographer

Monday, August 24, 2015

Finally, An Effective Mosquito Repellent

Here we are almost at the end of summer. Sorry it has taken me so long to share this with you, but better late than never. Thanks to one of my husband's coworkers, we learned about an excellent product that repels mosquitoes extremely effectively. It is Thermacell mosquito repellent. The product line includes appliances (like the one above), lanterns and torches. One device covers a 15 x 15-foot (225 square foot) area. They are great for use at home or camping.

We own two appliances in the Woodlands Camo print. The product has no open flame, is portable, easy to use and odorless (though I can detect the slightest odor, which is actually pleasant smelling, in my opinion). The best thing is that Thermacell WORKS!

Thermacell products have received numerous awards and are used by the US government for troops on military bases around the world.

Thermacell products are powered by a single butane cartridge, which provides the heat that activates the patented repellent mat. Both the cartridge and mat are refillable.

The repellent is allethrin -- a copy of what that naturally occurs in chrysanthemum flowers -- which repels mosquitoes, black flies, and no-see-ums. It is safe for humans and pets.

Ever since we started using Thermacell, we've been able to enjoy summer days and evenings outdoors without the bother of biting mosquitoes. This is especially nice at dusk, when mosquitoes are particularly active. Living in the south, we deal with mosquitoes several months out of the year. Needless to say, I am thrilled to have this product because it allows us to enjoy more time on our porch and in our yard during the dreaded "mosquito months." We even took it last evening to a jazz concert held in a heavily wooded park, and we didn't get any bites -- and neither did the people around us, I'll bet!

This is not a sponsored post. The opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Cleaning Vases

I've been using my mini vases quite a lot this summer, with all our wonderful dahlias for cutting. When water sits in the vase for a period of time, a film develops at the water line and it doesn't come off with normal washing.

A good, easy way to remove hard water stains like this is to fill the vase with a 50/50 combination of plain white vinegar and water and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Then take a soft brush and scrub a little, then rinse -- the stain is gone.  

This little bottle brush is handy for cleaning vases and things you can't get a wash cloth into. I think I ordered a set of three brushes in different sizes years ago, and now I can't remember from where. The tip of this brush is a soft cottony material, and the bristles provide just enough friction without scratching. The result is a sparkling clean glass vase!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Perfect Linens: Special Offer

Not long ago I wrote about some new sheets I had purchased, and I received quite a few comments (sometimes I'm surprised  by the topics you all find interesting). Then, about a month later, I was contacted by Perfect Linens asking if I would like to try (for free!) a set of their Second Skin sheets. Realizing the sheets I had just purchased would probably not be very long-lasting, I readily agreed to give their Second Skin sheets a try.

Perfect Linens sells sheets, and only sheets. They pride themselves on describing their sheets in terms of weight and feel (rather than strictly by thread count or other somewhat confusing terms). They offer customers a unique way to select sheets that are right for them. I have to say, I've never thought about sheets in quite that way. 

They divide their products into three categories: light, cool and supple. The Second Skin sheets I received are described as their most supple, made of durable, enzyme-treated 400-threadcount Egyptian cotton. They come in white with a choice of three decorative embroidered borders. I chose the fern pattern, which my husband and I really like!

I washed the new sheets using the special sample-sized bottle of Linen Wash that came with them, and made up the bed. The first thing I noticed was how much more substantial they are than the sheets I had just purchased. They feel great to sleep in, and have become softer with subsequent washings. The flat sheet is considerably longer than most, allowing plenty of room to tuck under at the foot of the bed and turn back at the head of the bed, to show off the pretty embroidered pattern. I can honestly say these are the nicest quality sheets we've ever had. When the time comes to purchase our next set of cotton sheets, I'll be buying them from Perfect Linens.

As a special offer to readers of My Little Bungalow, Perfect Linens is offering $50.00 off your purchase of Perfect Linens when you use the discount code LittleBungalow50 at checkout.

Learn more about their products and what makes them unique at

This is a sponsored post, but the opinions I have expressed about the product are my own. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Strawberry-Watermelon Pops

Look who showed up at the photo shoot! Ella and Henry were very interested in what I had to photograph -- a delicious strawberry-watermelon popsicle -- and they were hoping for a taste. These fruity pops are a delicious summer afternoon treat, though I did find the prep to be a bit labor intensive, particularly the blending of the fruit. My blender doesn't work very well without liquid (I would love a Vitamix blender, but maybe they need liquid also in order to work well?). If I make these again, I might try a food processor. I also did not discard all of the fruit solids because I wanted a bit of it in the popsicles, for substance. I hope you give these tasty pops a try before the summer is over!

Strawberry-Watermelon Pops

  • 2 pounds seedless watermelon, diced
  • 1/2 pound strawberries, hulled and cut in half
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice 
1. Working in batches, puree watermelon in a blender. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl (discard solids). Puree strawberries; add to bowl. Add sugar and lime juice and stir until sugar has completely dissolved.  
2. Pour mixture into ice-pop molds and insert sticks. Freeze until solid, 2 1/2 to 3 hours (or up to 1 week).

Monday, August 3, 2015

Summer Weekends in Pictures

These pretty yellow dahlias from our garden are perfect for cutting ...

This Salvadoran cabbage relish, called Curtido, is made regionally and sold locally at the most charming farmers market in our city (cobblestone streets and beautifully displayed produce, baked goods, cheeses, coffee, cold-pressed juices ... need I say more?). 
The seller had samples of this type and a few other varieties to try. So yummy!

I also bought this beautiful Swiss chard, perfect for making a stew with lentils and garbanzo beans, at the same farmers market ...

This trio of vintage, rusty fence finials, which we bought at an antiques store years ago, graces our kitchen windowsill, and caught my eye as I photographed the dahlias ...

Insalata caprese: slices of fresh mozzarella and ripe tomatoes with some fresh basil from our garden, coarse salt and freshly ground pepper ... the perfect Saturday lunch with a few Kalamata olives on the side.

And a book I'm reading about a border collie named Orson by Jon Katz (I'm a sucker for any story that's dog related) ...

How have you been enjoying your summer weekends? Please share! I'd love to hear from you.

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