Browsing the shops used to be our favorite rainy day activity before time got away, filled with travel and other activities (photography, book signings, etc.). We realized it had been almost two years — yes, two years! — since our last visit. I am a true "bookaholic" and pictured above are three wonderful finds I came home with. In this photo they are on an old quilt of ours. (See? We love old things.)
We first went to the Picket Fence, where we once found an old painting that hangs in our living room.
You can see more of Picket Fence's wares HERE .
The painting is so beautifully done, it's clear the artist had real mastery. We couldn't find a name, though. And we've both been afraid to take the frame apart to see if it is hidden out of sight, for fear of damaging it. But looking at it is one of our great pleasures in life.
We didn't find anything at Picket Fence this time, but we had a great browse. Then we browsed shops on the same side of the alley and discovered a shop called Design Alchemy HERE .
Design Alchemy is where we found the wonderful Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook shown here on the left. Both Rajan and I like to cook, and we especially like our cast iron skillets (we have two in different sizes.) There is just something about food cooked on cast iron that has special flavor. And the recipes in this book are wonderful. I already cooked an oven baked ratatouille Sunday that I want to tweak a little the next time around. But it was delicious. The author, Ellen Brown, provides lovely photos of the dishes, and her step-by-step recipes are easy to follow. I'm eager to try the carrot and zucchini pancakes next. (We are vegetarian).
Next, it was onward across the alley to the main shop we like so much. It's like touring a museum. Dozens of alcoves inside, each a different shop. And if you like anything from vintage clothing, old books, Depression glassware, model cars, lamps, vintage toys, art deco shades, accent furniture pieces, well, 57th Street Mall is for you. It was HERE — do go have a look — I found two other book treasures shown below:
What's special about these two books is that I can easily take them on the plane when we go to Spain. (We are traveling these days with carry-ons only, no checked baggage.) I've been studying Spanish for what seems like forever. But the little book on the left, Cuentos Faciles, is a jewel.
The lessons are little stories in front, a page or two at most (small pages at that) with exercises in the back and a glossary, so that you can check out new vocabulary. I've done two of them already — there are 30 altogether.
The book on the right, The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes, feeds my Sherlock addiction. This is the last of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's story collections about the great detective, and one I have not yet read. I'm especially interested, because I wrote an MG mystery starting Holmes and have another one on the back burner. I can never get enough of Sherlock Holmes's world.
Both these books are in pristine condition. Not a mark of any kind on either. Our Saturday sojourn into Antique Alley was not expensive at all, but I have to say it was soul-satisfying. I am probably going to wear these books out.
How about you? Do you like cookbooks? Have you tried to learn a second language? Are you a Sherlock fan? Do you like old books? If so, what kind? Do you like to hang around antique stores and secondhand shops? What is one of your most satisfying purchases?