Monday, December 16, 2013


cafe apron, originally uploaded by michele wynne.
Look out people. I've been crafting.
The little kitchen has been re-purposed of late, thus the shocking lack of cooking content.
Just before Thanksgiving, whilst attempting yet another Feng Shui purge, I dug out for what has to be the 100th time, 2 storage containers of fabrics I've accumulated over the years (it used to be 3 times that much). At the same time I found myself wanting an apron for my holiday greeting duties at work. I was also sadly poor and just needed a no cost hobby to occupy my non-work hours. I finally found a use for all of the sewing stuff I've been hauling all over the country for the past 20+ years.
I made this:
and so it apron a day. The shabby chic apron at the top seems to be generating a bit of buzz. 
This one began with an impromptu detour last weekend to the SF Bazaar Craft Fair, I  came across a huge table covered with stacks and stacks of decorator fabric swatches. I was handed a small shopping bag and invited to take as many as I wanted...for free!!! See, this is how it all begins.
So here's the deal: this non-profit, all-volunteer organization called FabMo goes around to all of the bay area decorator showrooms and collects up all of their discontinued fabrics, swatches and other samples which would otherwise end up as landfill.  Volunteers organize in a warehouse space in Mountain View and open up 3 days each month and those in the know can go in and take as much as you want, leaving a voluntary donation.
My apartment has been a disaster hotbed of creativity for the last week as the whole floor has been covered in fabric swatches. I'm actually really happy with the results because after much R & D, I've come up with a style that incorporates my theatrical background and most specifically my affinity for the art of  distressing-starting with something new, beating the crap out of it, thus giving it a life with character...or so I like to think. These aprons would only get better with age.
If you click the top picture you can see the photo gallery of all of the aprons I've made this past month.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Handmade Chocolates

Handmade Chocolates, originally uploaded by michele wynne.
There are worse places to spend an 8 hour work day.  I've been thinking of my past jobs, the  last being one where I drank coffee, ate cupcakes and surfed the internet all day, where even the best work day can now be reflected upon as being tedious and uninspiring.
Working in a gourmet food market has many perks to someone who loves great food and amazing food stuff. Co-workers constantly offering up samples of this amazing cheese or tastes of that refreshing new wine. That in itself makes for a delicious workday. Then there are the local vendors hanging out for a few hours to chat and share tastes of their gorgeous artisanal treats. That happens pretty regularly. During the holidays this happens all day, everyday. The amount of chocolate I consumed the week of Thanksgiving was nothing short of obscene. There was one standout: gate comme des filles chocolat. Alexandra Whisnant makes the most amazing chocolates by hand. Her ganaches are infused with coffee, clementines, meyer lemon and bacon, just to name a few. The ganache is cut and hand formed, dipped in chocolate then decorated with finishes like goldleaf, glitter, decorative transfer patterns, candied lemon and bacon. She makes her boxes by hand, using heavyweight colored paper in assorted colors and a variety of decorative adhesive tapes to seal each box-an absolutely gorgeous presentation.
So the next great perk of working at Bi-Rite is being able to take advantage of the amazing cooking classes and events offered at 18 Reasons, our non-profit educational space. When I signed up for the Handmade Chocolates class I had no idea who Alexandra was, even when she was in the store last week I didn't make the connection, so I was absolutely thrilled when I showed up for class yesterday and saw the stack of her signature boxes.
Wheeee, I made these super amazing chocolates last night.
I learned how to temper chocolate, make ganache and form these gorgeous and most excellent tasting truffles. It was a good day.