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Make Something Great: Northland Artisans Hone Their Crafts

What does it take to be a maker? A dream, two hands, and a lot of heart. The Northland is full of creative people, and here are four that are bringing their passion projects to the world. 

Melissa Fahlstrom, Owner of Sugar Whipped Bakery

Plattsburg, Missouri may be a bit of a drive if you're in Parkville, but when you see the confections that are waiting for you at Sugar Whipped Bakery, you'll never mind the drive. Falstrom was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, but followed her dreams to New York City, where she planned to become an actress. 

While she toiled away working and auditioning, she started baking as a hobby. That hobby quickly turned into a passion and then a business, as she learned advanced cake decorating techniques and built a client list that included Dylan's Candy Bar. 

Fast forward a few years, and Melissa felt the tug to come home. In 2017, she opened Sugar Whipped Bakery in historic downtown Plattsburg. Although she still designs and creates custom cakes, she also fills her pastry case with potato chip pretzel cookies, caramel pecan brownies, cupcakes, donuts, and French patisseries with a modern American twist. Her bakery is more than just her workshop. It's home, and she's let her creativity shine while cultivating a cozy vibe with a couch and comfy seating area, perfect for chatting with friends over a pain au chocolate and a shot of espresso. Learn more at SugarWhippedNYC.com

Allyson Lassiter, Artist

By day, Allyson Lassiter uses her creative prowess for corporate good as she works for Hallmark Cards. By night, she lets those creative juices run wild in a variety of mediums. 

This North Kansas City resident has always loved creating and dabbles in a little bit of everything, from quilting to sewing plushies to working on a graphic novel with a friend. Her doodles can be found in unusual places like the tops of cakes, as well as in frames. Her latest venture is Lassie's Lil Toon Doods. With Toon Doods, she takes her show on the road, immortalizing people and their pets with mini cartoon portraits. She can be found at craft shows around the area or contacted for commissions through her Instagram, @allysonlassiter. 

When she's not creating, she likes to garden, sprucing up her home, and sampling local ice creams while wearing Hawaiian shirts. 

Dusti Lyon Preul, Nouvelle Sewing School 

Dusti Lyon Preul has plenty of experience teaching. She spent much of her career as a middle school teacher in the inner city of Philadelphia and Kansas City. After starting her family a decade ago, she learned to sew as a creative outlet. Now she passes that knowledge on to her students. She opened her studio in Parkville in October of 2019. 

"Sewing is incredibly fun and I love sharing, the joy of pursuing a creative hobby.  It's so gratifying to make a project from vision to finished product and I strive for m,y students to feel inspired, energized, and proud when they leave my class. From a consumer standpoint, it's neat to show kids that the items we buy in stores are ones we can often make.  It is empowering to realize an item we thought was complicated is actually fairly easy and infinitely more unique when we make it ourselves. Similarly, it's thrilling when we can make clothes that we dream up and look exactly the way we envision," says Preul. 

Nouvelle offers beginner classes, garment sewing classes, homeschooling classes, private advanced classes, and host Girl Scout Troops, birthday parties, and ladies nights.

In addition to teaching, Preul does custom sewing work including home decor and garments. This spring, she will be launching a line of handmade reusable gift bags and accessories.

Learn more at SewNouvelle.com

Shannon Hubbell and MJ McNeese, Nostalgic Liberty

Nostalgic Liberty is the passion project of Liberty enthusiasts MJ McNeece and Shannon Hubbell. "We love the history and the people," explains McNeece. "Shannon and I want to encourage storytelling as a means of preserving history here."

NostalgicLiberty.com and BygoneTees.com are both Girl Trip Productions brands. Friends since they were pre-teens, Shannon and MJ hope that someday, their efforts will allow them more, you guessed it, girl trips.

With Nostalgic Liberty, the pair takes vintage designs from some of Liberty's most beloved shuttered institutions and makes them into t-shirts and other garments. 

One of their more popular designs is for Massey's Cafe. Massey's Cafe was on the historic Liberty Square for 35 years. It was a family-owned and -operated business, with three generations lending a hand. They served everything from steak to burgers, with roast beef being very popular. They never used any flaked potatoes; their potatoes were grown in an area known as "the bottoms" in Kansas City's oldest commercial area, by the Missouri River. Homemade pies were popular, as was the chicken pot pie. Mrs. Massey typed a new menu each day, using the hunt-n-peck method of utilizing just two fingers to type it out. Massey's Cafe is gone, but never forgotten thanks to memories like these shared by the family. Massey's Cafe closed in 1963, but fans can still wear shirts that ensure they can live on in their memories. 

Family gifts are the trend lately, with folks wanting family gifts featuring their own vintage sign or logo. "We have learned so much from our clients and our customers," says Hubbell, "which is the best part of this business!"

Learn more at NostalgicLiberty.com.

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