nine05

life in balance

On the Road: Eating and Shopping in NYC

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Sewn turtle at Purl Soho

Sewn turtle at Purl Soho

I had a quiet week last week settling back in after my weekend in the city. It’s such a lovely time of year to be in New York, and it was great to be in the city with friends, checking out some places I hadn’t been to before.

Pumpkins and squash at the Greenmarket

Pumpkins and squash at the Greenmarket

I was particularly thrilled to be able to stop by the Greenmarket (this one, to be specific). I really adore the Dupont Circle farmer’s market here in DC, but it was fun to check out what the Greenmarket had to offer. Almost too much wonderful produce to be believed! I almost bought delicas, but fortunately stopped before I committed myself to spending a day walking around with several pounds of squash in my handbag. I did find maple sugar in one of the booths, so now I’m equipped to make apple maple butter in the coming weeks.

Goods for sale at Brooklyn Flea

Goods for sale at Brooklyn Flea

We also got to check out Brooklyn Flea, which I’ve been curious about for a while, especially after being underwhelmed by District Flea at home. We swung by the Fort Greene location on Saturday morning to shop and, in my case, snack. Memo to Brooklyn Sodaworks: DC location? Please? I brought home a bottle of their Apple & Ginger soda and my husband and I are addicted. We had a pleasant morning browsing the stalls, and I enjoyed myself, but to be honest, I can’t imagine heading out to Brooklyn again just for the flea.

If only it were possible to take this dresser home on the Amtrak

If only it were possible to take this dresser home on the Amtrak

Also new to me this trip was Candle 79. I’m not a vegetarian and hadn’t heard of Candle 79 before Veronica suggested we stop in, but my friend Camille is a vegan life coach and thanks to her influence, I’ve found myself shifting my dietary choices a little bit lately. For instance, I switched from cow’s milk to almond milk in my coffees, and get this, I’m finding that coffee is easier to digest sans dairy. And though this is hardly vegan of me, I usually get vegetarian patties for my cheeseburgers now; again, I find my body just responds better when I don’t eat meat. I was excited to try a haute cuisine vegan meal at Candle and ended up ordering a raw meal – no heating or cooking the food. I was blown away at how good the food was and how good my body felt after eating it. I’ve been telling people that the food went past good to transformative; I can’t imagine anyone not being interested in vegan food after eating the meal we had. My goal in the coming months is to incorporate more raw and vegan cooking into my daily routine, just for kicks.

Inspirational beet photo? I felt like it was too tacky to take photos at Candle 79

Inspirational Greenmarket beet photo? I felt like it was too tacky to take photos at Candle 79, so no photos of our amazing meal

And on pretty much the opposite end of the spectrum, we checked out Eric Kayser – the best pastries I’ve had anywhere since leaving Paris – and ABC Carpet & Home, another of Veronica’s suggestions that I absolutely fell in love with. Let’s face it, the woman is good to travel with, she knows some killer spots. ABC is hardly an affordable place to shop, so I gave myself a one-item limit and found the most amazing spoons. I bought a pair with bowls shaped like seed pods.

Spoons from ABC Home & Carpet

Spoons from ABC Home & Carpet

Veronica and Jennifer left New York a few hours before I did, and left to my own devices, I finally got to cross a shop in New York off my travel bucket list: Kinokuniya. Kinokuniya is one of the big bookstores in Japan, and when I lived in Hokkaido I went every chance I got, but in the past nine years I’ve never made it to the American locations. Absolute bliss. When people hear “Japanese bookstore” they tend to think anime – and while you can indeed get manga here, that’s not my thing. Japanese craft books are my thing. I’ve got several Japanese knitting stitch dictionaries; you do have to be careful which one you buy, as some of them aren’t that different from their American counterparts, but if you search you can find some with really unusual patterns. At knitting shops they tend to be quite pricey, but Kinokuniya’s prices seemed to hover around $30.

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I skipped the knitting stitch dictionaries this week in favor of sewing books, both stitch dictionaries and project books. This beaded embroidery stitch dictionary blew my mind – the photographic instructions are super clear, so no need to translate from the Japanese, and the ideas are beautiful. Really delicate and subtle. I can’t wait to apply some of these to my projects from my class at Snow Farm.

Detail from beaded stitch dictionary

Detail from beaded stitch dictionary

And then there’s this; the instructions are substantially less clear, at least to me, but come on, how could I not buy it?

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Then, though I knew I should be done, somehow this jumped into my hands and refused to jump back out:

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It’s full of projects for sewing accessories, including several needle books, which seemed totally apropos given the needle book round-up I’m working on for you all. This one in particular called out to me:

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I’m going to explore incorporating some of these ideas into my tutorial.

The only bad part? Adding the new books to the books I got at McNally Jackson and hauling the whole thing to Penn Station on foot. If there’s one thing this weekend taught me, it’s that I really need to work harder on my nerve glides and stretches. Some of the problems I did physical therapy for earlier in the year are recurring, including the problems I was having with my hamstrings; this translates into some ferocious pain that runs through my whole lower body if I walk too much, from tight nerve clusters in my low back to my knees and on down to my feet. I had stopped doing a lot of the exercises and it’s clear to me now that I was not ready to stop. Thankfully, I was able to largely substitute my herbal remedies for Advil once I got home and rehabbed from the trip 100% ibuprofen-free, which is a huge milestone and a source of great joy for me. I’ll share more herbal remedy tips with you all in an upcoming post, but in the meantime, I really can’t recommend Holly’s book enough; do check it out if you’re at all interested!

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