Passion Project

Frewsburg Woman Combines Creativity With Jewelry Making

Kyle Hull and Alyssa Crossley are ready to dig into Party Dip and Totsagna. Crossley said in addition to time spent in the kitchen, her passion also is found in jewelry making.  
Photos by Beverly Kehe-Rowland

Kyle Hull and Alyssa Crossley are ready to dig into Party Dip and Totsagna. Crossley said in addition to time spent in the kitchen, her passion also is found in jewelry making. Photos by Beverly Kehe-Rowland

“I have always been interested in cooking,” says Alyssa Crossley. “I started making cinnamon rolls when I was about 12.”

The Frewsburg woman tells how her mother, Sherry Crossley, does a lot of cooking and how her grandmother, Linda Crossley, also cooks a lot and always has them over for meals, but the food is prepared before her arrival. They both have influenced her interest in cooking over the years.

She offers recipes from several sources, such as Party Dip, a recipe she acquired after having it on the houseboat of a friend of her boyfriend, Kyle Hull.

“I really liked it and got the recipe and now I make it all of the time. Everybody loves it. It’s gone instantly.”

Her boss makes the Sausage-Apple Quiche for the clients they serve at UPMC WCA Chautauqua. Tater tots are used in place of noodles in Totsagna, a twist on traditional lasagna.

Alyssa Crossley incorporates shell casings, fishing lures and more into her jewelry designs.

Alyssa Crossley incorporates shell casings, fishing lures and more into her jewelry designs.

“They love it. I love it. It is amazing,” Crossley says.

Although she enjoys time spent in the kitchen, jewelry designing has been her passion and the hobby that fills any spare time she has found over the past two years. It began when she saw a pair of stud earrings made from bullet casings that she knew she could make for less then the $40 asking price.

Hull cut the casings and Crossley designed the earrings using Swarovski crystals. She started her business, Say It With Brass Jewelry, after her friends saw the earrings and asked her to make pairs for them.

She has since gotten inspiration from many areas including Pinterest, a website set up for people to find and share ideas. She puts her own spin on the ideas she finds. Some of her customers have specific ideas of pieces they would like her to create.

“I literally make anything and everything,” Crossley says.

Party Dip and Totsagna

Party Dip and Totsagna

She describes a memorial remembrance piece she once made from the casings used in a 21 gun salute at a funeral. Another piece is made by combining a 9 mm and a 44 mm casing into a long “bead” that is strung on a chain making an interesting necklace. A bracelet she creates by combining a fishing lure and a shell casing could be a gift for an outdoorsman as well as a key chain made from a casing.

“With jewelry, you can expand to go anywhere with it,” she says. “For example, I made magnets out of casings for my mother for Christmas.”

Crossley gets many custom orders and has made cuff links, hand chains and boot chains for wedding parties. Although she uses casings in many designs, she has many pieces that are made without them. Holiday ornaments and Grandma and Grandpa ornaments made to reveal the upcoming birth of a grandchild are more offerings. Metal stamped pieces is a new addition to the line. Her designs can be seen at Mirage Hair Salon in the Fairmount Avenue Plaza.

“A lot of the girls at Mirage buy my pieces when I take them in,” she says. “I always try to keep my creations, but Kyle tells me to sell them. I don’t know how many I have kept.”

Until recently Crossley had only done indoor shows, but has purchased her own tables and a pop-up tent and is now doing larger shows. In early October she participated in the Ellicottville Fall Fest, which was attended by thousands of people. She has found that her clientele consists of people from all walks of life and has sold to teachers that brag they will be the “coolest” teacher, as well as to an older woman who rode a purple Harley.

Because she believes everyone should give back, she donates a portion of her sales to Western New York Heroes, a group that provides support programs and services for local veterans, service members and their families.

She lists boating on Kinzua Lake and shooting at Carroll Rod and Gun Club as two more of her hobbies.

The Frewsburg couple shares their space with three furry friends. Ella, a six-year old Pomeranian-Chihuahua is the dominant pet. Five-year-old brothers, Mario, a Tabby, and Luigi, a black cat, compete with Ella for attention. Alyssa considers herself an avid animal lover.

Hull adds that Crossley likes antiques and says he gets “dragged along” whenever she is shopping for them. One of her favorite finds is a large lamp she found for five dollars at Salvation Army. Their apartment has several other finds, such as a metal horn found in Florida. When she saw a set of her father’s rusty furniture movers she “had a vision” for them, which now serve as candle holders. Their bedroom lamps sit on a pair of step end tables purchased through Online Classified. A coat of crackle paint made them an ideal fit.

PARTY DIP

2-8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

1 pkg dry ranch dressing

1 can whole kernel corn, drained

1 red, orange and yellow peppers, chopped

Mix all ingredients in bowl. Chill. Serve with veggies, chips, or crackers.

LISA’S CHICKEN

1 c sour cream

1 c mayonnaise

1 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 can cream of chicken soup

2 c cooked chopped chicken

2 c frozen broccoli

2 c plain potato chips, crumbled

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients, except chips, in a large bowl. Pour into a lightly sprayed 9” x 9″ pan. Top with crumbled chips. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until bubbly and chips are golden.

SAUSAGE AND

APPLE QUICHE

9″ pie shell, unbaked

1/2 lb Italian sausage, thinly sliced

1/2 c onion, finely chopped

2 c red apples, finely diced

1/2 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese

2 eggs, beaten

1 c light cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prebake pie shell for 10 minutes. Cook sausage with onion until brown. Drain. Toss sausage and onion with apples and cheese. Spoon into pie shell. Beat eggs with cream, pour into pie shell. Bake until firm, about 40 to 45 minutes.

CHICKEN TATER TOT CASSEROLE

3 c cooked chicken, chopped

16 oz sour cream

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 package ranch dressing mix

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

2 lb bag frozen tater tots

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray 9” x 13″ pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix together chicken, sour cream, soup, dressing mix and cheese. Fold in frozen tater tots. Spoon into pan. Bake 40-45 min, until bubbly.

CHICKEN TETRAZZINI

16 oz linguini, cooked

1/2 c butter, softened

4 chicken breasts, cooked and diced

2 cans cream of chicken soup

2 c sour cream

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 c chicken broth

2 T Parmesan cheese

2 c shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, combine butter, chicken, soup, sour cream, salt, pepper and chicken broth. Mix well, then add pasta. Lightly spray a 9” x 13″ pan and pour the pasta mixture in. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake for 40-45 minutes.

TOTSAGNA

1 lb ground beef

1 tsp garlic powder

24 oz marinara sauce

1 c water

2 c shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

1/2 c Parmesan cheese, divided

15 oz ricotta cheese

1 egg, beaten

1 bag frozen tater tots

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While browning beef, sprinkle with garlic powder, mixing it into the meat. Meat should be in small crumbles. Drain. Add marinara sauce and then water to thin out sauce. Stir until sauce is combined, turn off burner. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup mozzarella, † cup Parmesan cheese, all of the ricotta cheese and beaten egg. Pour enough meat sauce to lightly coat the bottom of a 13” x 9″ pan. Top with a layer of tater tots, then all of the ricotta mixture and a layer of meat sauce. Cover with another layer of tater tots, add the rest of the meat sauce and the rest of the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the tater tots are lightly browned.

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