Shop Your heART Out Again This Weekend and Before!

Once again, this weekend is brimming with art to see and purchase.  Lots of holiday jamming going on so get out there, SUPPORT LOCAL AND GET YOUR ART ON! Fresh A.I.R. Gallery: Opening Reception Cathy Jeffers, Revealed Wednesday 5:30-7:00 p.m. … Continue reading

Oh, The Weather Outside is Frightful…BUT Not the ART♥

December is upon us and, of course, that means Winterfair, Short North Holiday Hop, and so many other venues that provide a way to support local artists and artisans by gifting those on your list with inspired pieces! Let’s get … Continue reading

But Wait! There’s More Art This Weekend!!!!

You didn’t get your shopping done yet and you still want to support locally based art and artists???  No worries!  There are plenty more opportunities to do just that in the coming week.  The merriment begins Wednesday! Tacocat Wednesday-Friday-Sunday A … Continue reading

Queen of Hearts…Pastries That Is! Allyson Blackwell

PicMonkey CollageDo have a sweet tooth?  Do you have a sweetie that you want to give something really special for Valentine’s Day?  I’ve got the perfect fit for you!!!   Allyson Blackwell, owner of The Pastry Factory, LLC,
is one of my go-to gals for wonderfully creative  pastries that combine unique and scrumptious ingredients to please the taste buds.  The Pastry Factory specializes in gourmet desserts for sophisticated palates. She likes to create delicate textures, layering flavors to create a unique gourmet experience that tantalizes taste buds.

for Valentine's Day!

for Valentine’s Day!

Allyson with her mom

Allyson with her mom

I have been racking my brain to try to figure out how I first learned of Allyson’s company and am clueless (senior moment???).  I DO remember that I approached her to cater for the vendors at the Falling for Local artisan market that I coordinated in October 2013.  Not only did she provide us with yummy morning Danish pastries, she also made  delicious pasta and fruit salads for the afternoon.  All of the vendors were blown away by her offerings and all commented on how they had never had such a wonderful array of goodies provided to vendors.
After that experience, I immediately contacted her when I wanted to host a shopping party at my home. The theme was wine and chocolate and, boy, did Allyson produce!  She made a variety of finger foods that fit the bill with chocolate ganache, chocolate meringue…chocolate, chocolate, chocolate!  They were mouth watering and all of the attendees had a hard time resisting!blueberry
Allyson cupcakes
So, as the sweet holiday of Valentine’s Day seemed to be an appropriate time to promote this talented lady!
Allyson is truly an Ohio artisan being born in Cincinnati Ohio.  In 1980, her family  relocated to Rochester NY only to move back to Ohio just in time for high school. She attended both Westerville North High School and the  Northwest Career Center with a focus on culinary arts. There she was introduced to culinary competitions where she competed against other high school students across the state of Ohio. Her success at these competitions earned her a scholarship to Sullivan University where she graduated with a degree in Culinary Arts.
Being a culinary artist seems to be in her blood as she states:
I’ve always loved to cook even as a little girl. I remember attempting to cook breakfast for my parents at the tender age of 5. I served cold french fries, that had been left on a sheet pan on top of the stove. I dumped them into a bowl and sprinkled them with salt, pepper & sugar. I poured them onto a plate and carried a tray with the cold fries, juice and toast to my parents room. My mother refused to eat my “gourmet” breakfast, but my father was so proud…..he ate every fry on the plate.

Red Velvet Bits for Your Valentine!

Red Velvet Bits for Your Valentine!

Although she enjoys every aspect of cooking,  as she’s gotten older, she has found herself passionate about the art of pastries.  She likes the challenge of creating new desserts from old ideas and finds inspiration with unique ingredients, like:

1. At a recent event I met a local artisan vendor. He and his wife own Mixology Marmalades, a unique twist on jams and jellies. I was inspired by his “Spiced Merlot” jam. I made a praline/cream flavored cake with dulce de leche filling and a spiced merlot buttercream.
2. I was at a farmers market and found beautiful avocados and fresh herbs. I created an avocado citrus cake with a rosemary glaze.
Wow…I’m salivating!!!!!

Challenging herself to re-imagine something new and fresh is part of the fun with her business.  She has learned that “when baking it is a must that you take your time! Allowing the ingredients to mix together slowly helps create a “lighter than air” product.”

When creating, she starts with a basic idea and builds on to it to create layering flavors, and delicate textures to create a unique gourmet experience that tantalizes taste buds.
 One of the joys of baking according to Allyson is:  I love to watch the expression on peoples faces when they try one of my products for the first time. I create most of my flavors so they are usually completely different from what people are used to.
During her second pregnancy 18 years ago, she started her pastry business by giving sample boxes to family and friends to take to work along with a price list. Soon she was delivering Danish and desserts to local coffee shops and businesses.  As much as she loved being her own boss, her pastry business has always been on the back burner.  Currently, she is the store manager for Cheryl’s Cookies at the Tuttle Mall (she has worked for them for 7 years). However, 2 years ago, her daughter asked when she planned to grow her business to become her only source of income. Realizing all of her previous excuses were no longer relevant, she applied for a business license and tax ID. Thus, The Pastry Factory was born specializing in gourmet desserts for sophisticated palates. She likes to create delicate textures, layering flavors to create a unique gourmet experience that tantalizes taste buds. Now she’s working hard to build  clientele in order to open her own bakery/cafe.  As a step towards that goal, she would like to purchase a food truck to become more mobile for local events.  Although most of her customers are referred from previous customers, farmers markets and other local events or  an event that she has catered, she hopes that a food truck will expand her exposure to the general public leading to the dream bakery!

pastry 3

Her delicacies are available online at her website and select items can also be purchased  at the Easton Celebrate Local store.  However, she does encourage her clients to purchase their pastries through her website with the ability to obtain their orders at Celebrate Local.  In that way they can receive custom orders easily.  Recently, The Pastry Factory had  a booth at the Ohio Power Show January 24, 25 & 26  and will be selling products at local farmers markets this summer.
During the week before Valentine’s Day, she will have  gourmet pastry tidbits (bonbons), 6 inch mini layer cakes and gourmet fortune cookie (with a romantic poem tucked inside) for Valentine’s Day at the Easton Celebrate Local store!
SOOOO….if you are looking to get a sweet for your sweet while supporting local small business, make your way to Celebrate Local or order online!   I may just splurge and gift myself with one of those mini cakes…YUMMMMMM!
fortune cookies

fortune cookies

Contact info for readers:
  She can also be found on Instagram and Pinterest

Shop Local, Shop Artists!

Don’t forget that Alternative Fashion Mob is sponsoring a great holiday shopping event to promote buying local and supporting small businesses today and tomorrow!  11-7 both days!  Catch me there while I volunteer for this fun event!bf 1bf2

Kristin Ellis' earrings

Kristin Ellis’ earrings

black friday collage

back friday

ralph at 83

AND check out one of my featured artists, Ralph Corriveau, at Illuminating this Sunday in German Village’s Gallery 831.

Illuminating Art
German Village Art League’s All-Member Exhibition
OPENING: December 1, 2013 at Gallery 831

Our fifth annual all-member holiday exhibition opens Sunday December 1, from 6-9pm! Celebrate the season with art, food, laughter, and pleasant evening strolls through German Village during Village Lights! Join us at Clayspace Gallery 831, at 831 S. Front Street, for this joyous occasion!

Summer Flea And Sunday Afternoons At Sanctuary for the Arts Tomorrow!

summer fleaCan’t wait to flea with everyone at Summer flea!  Come to market with your flea bags ready to fill with local love! Handmade jewelry, artwork, antiques, vintage clothing, records, leather goods, re-purposed furniture, and more!

Be ready to get your snack on with the likes of That Food Truck, J-Pops gourmet ice pops, and other tasty treats!

Summer Flea falls on International Friendship Day this year so…that’s cool 🙂

IMG_2871Also tomorrow if you feel like trekking out to the Sunbury area, there will be an afternoon to enjoy lemonade, readings, strolling and more at the beautiful home of Syndey Schardt at Sanctuary for the Arts among the trees and stones, on Sunday, August 4, from 12-6p.m.  Come through the woods to the Porch.  There you will find readings and literary chat, lemonade and lively bird songs, all under a canopy of tall trees.

You are invited to:

 Ø        Polish up some 5 minute readings for the open mic (@ 2pm).  All genres welcomed.

 Ø        Meet Matt Betts, newly-published author of Odd Men Out and learn about his journey to successful publishing.  Matt and his publisher will be on hand to answer questions and offer books for sale and signing.

 Ø        Bring painting, writing, drawing, photography or do a watercolor walk during the afternoon.  Stroll the paths, the garden, ravine, labyrinth.

 Come to Sanctuary for The Arts for a literary treat – nature and books – on Sunday, August 4 from 12n-6pm.

For more details and map/directions, visit and