The Bake and Crafthouse, Cranbrook

24 December 2013

Baking and crafting all under one roof.
As it's almost Christmas so here's a post to bring cheer and delight. Toddlers wot bake and craft thanks to the wonderful setting that is the Bake and Crafthouse and the gentle auspices of Kate Alsanjak.

Yes, we're in a crafting space. The bunting is the giveaway there.
Kate is a graduate of St Martins and after working for Caramel Baby & Child as well as a stint in textile development for Burberry (AMAZING), she decided to set up her own crafty space in the Wealden town of Cranbrook.

The baking space at the Bake and Crafthouse.
The House is part of an old brewery. It caters for all ages who want to revel in the joys of creating and making. During term time there are regular classes for primary school children and evening events for adults. The toddler class is a particular triumph though.

Shhhh! Industrious mixing is happening.
In one hour the wee ones get to mix and make a marvellous mess that will - after a stint in the oven - emerge as some sort of delicious confection. These photos show the creation of Christmas cupcakes. One mother said, "I've discovered how to make baking at home a much happier experience for myself and my daughter. PREPARATION. I'll get everything weighed and measured before we start and it's meant there's no stress at all. Mess, sure, but no stress". Hear, hear.

Flour, everywhere!

But what to do whilst we all wait for the cakes or biscuits to bake?

So. Much. Mess. So. Much. Joy.
Cue the crafting. The last class of the autumn term involved Paper Craft 101: sticking paper stars onto little triangles of brown paper...

Paper Craft 101

... before sewing them together to make a dingly dangly Christmas decoration. Simple, sweet and the source of much joy for the tiny ones.

What I found fascinating was how individual each toddler's taste and eye was. One little girl only wanted light green stars on her triangles. Another alternated dark green with light whilst the wee one below decided to have a rectangle in the mix.

Dingly dangly Christmas decoration

These little ones found such pride and contentment in making and defining their own style. It's not easy for us mothers to let go sometimes, to let our children just try things their own way and experiment. Every time I do, simply watching and only supporting when asked to (not saying it's easy. It's jolly hard sometimes) I am humbled by what these children create and the pleasure it means for all.

Oooh. Sparkly decoration for Christmas cupcakes.
And all of this is accompanied by tea and - once baked - cake! It is actually a suprisingly tough thing to pull off, an activity that brings contentment for children and mothers. Both parties can spot a mile off people who claim they get on with children (but really don't) but will also revel in the presence of someone who genuinely cares for and thinks about tiny ones.

Kate Alsanjak of the Bake and Crafthouse

So all hail Kate Alsanjak and the Bake and Crafthouse! She's helping the next generation of creators with a calm and loving hand, giving them (and their mothers!) the confidence to enjoy the simple act of making.

Merry Christmas to you all.

(Images: Bake and Crafthouse, Zoë F. Willis)

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