A Proper Toast

a proper toast

Meet a toast with a LOT of personality! Today’s blog post is a story time, simple project, and quick snack, all rolled into one!

We recommend Toasty by Sarah Hwang (Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House Books, 2021, read here by the Loveland Public Library). Toasty is a slice of bread, but he really wants to be a dog. Even though he knows there are differences and major challenges, the intrepid Toasty heads to the park to meet some pups. Unfortunately, all does not go as planned. But when a girl appears at the moment Toasty needs her the most, a beautiful friendship begins.

You’ll need:

  • A piece of toast
  • A toaster or oven

Why I didn’t figure out this toast drawing thing when my kids were smaller?!? It’s adorable. First, use you fingers to firmly press a design (or a letter or word) into an uncooked slice of bread. Pop the slice in the toaster, and done!

Of course, me being who I am, I did wonder if the cooking time/temperature impacted how the design appeared on the toast…

toast test 3The answer is basically no. Above you can see 3 slices of toast cooked on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd settings on my toaster. The design appears about the same. Or…maybe I did the experiment so I would have an excuse to eat three yummy slices of toast that morning? Hmmmmm. Totally not telling.

Pop’s Top 10: Our Favorite Posts of 2021

12 month 46 hour library 4Wow wowzers wowie WOW are we looking forward to turning the page to 2022! But before we put a lid on 2021, we thought we would revisit some of our favorite posts! Here they are, in no particular order, our Top 10 posts of 2021!


#1 TOTALLY RANDOM

Never in a million years did I think a recycled pasta box would go viral, but this was one of our most popular projects! It’s a simple writing prompt machine, inspired by an arcade claw machine from summer vacations past.


#2 LIFESTYLES OF THE RICH AND NOBLE

Medieval Vogue front 1

Katie and I had a good time revisiting this fashion-parody-but-it’s-actually-historically-factual magazine. Medieval Vogue was part of a massive 2012 Robin Hood event. You can read more about the event fun here.


#3 DESTINATION: SLEEPY HOLLOW

It’s not everyday you get to check a box on the life list! Visiting Sleepy Hollow, NY has been something I’ve always dreamed of….and our 2021 trip will always be something to remember.


#4 BRINGING LITERATURE TO LIFE

Katie was delighted to interview Australian blogger Bryton Taylor, whose amazing literary parties and original recipes give us much inspiration!


#5 LITERARY AMUSEMENT PARK RIDES

moby dick ride_2

A Top 10 list in a Top 10 list? We couldn’t resist including this one because it was pure joy to research.


#6 FLOWERS FOR FERDINAND

In addition to featuring one of Katie’s favorite picture books, this post was full of hope, spring, and a fantastic wildflower identification app!


#7 FROM FOLKLORE TO FANTASY

Co-hosted with Vineet Chander from Princeton University’s Office of Religious Life, Hindu Life Program, this live Zoom webinar with talented authors Sanyantani DasGupta and Roshani Chokshi was just magical. And the Q&A with the kids was epic! You can find the entire event here.


#8 SPLASHY SPELLING

This one made the list because it was almost a huge fail and it turned my hand pink. Yes, PINK! Though I ultimately managed to produce a cute bath time spelling craft, my digits were blush for days!


#9 PUPPY POST

more puppy post 1Of course we’re going to include the post that introduced Finley, the newest addition to Katie’s family! Look at him, rocking that doggie delivery mailbox! Awwwww!


#10 THE 12 MONTH, 46 HOUR LIBRARY

12 month 46 hour library 4 Otherwise known as the craft kit that almost took Katie down. It might have taken a year, but now we have an adorable physical representation of Katie’s persistence and perseverance (and just look at that cute library ladder)!

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! HERE’S TO 2022!

A Piranesi-Inspired Picnic

No need for a basket, this little picnic folds right up into a book! Unfurl your picnic blanket, pull your food from the built-in pockets, and you have yourself a feast with friends!

The inspiration for this project comes from a rather unusual source – a Princeton University Library Special Collections exhibit entitled “Piranesi on the Page.” It details the work of Giovanni Battista Piranesi, the foremost printmaker in 18th-century Europe. Originally seeking to be an architect, Piranesi eventually turned to printmaking and experimented with the architecture of books, innovating on the concept of what a book can be.

An example of this is Ichographia, Campo Marzio dell’antica Roma, created in Rome in 1762. Below you can see a huge map of the Campo Marzio, the ancient district of Rome used as a military training ground.

But what you can’t see at first glance is that this map is also part of a book! The photo was difficult to capture what we me crouching, the low lighting, and a highly reflective case, but hopefully you can see the open book below and how the map extends from it!

Amazing, right? It got me thinking of a huge page unfolding from a book…maps…the great outdoors…picnics…picnic blankets…aha! Today, we bring you…the picnic book!

You’ll need:

  • 1 sheet of posterboard
  • Wrapping paper
  • 1 craft tie or pipe cleaner
  • A set of picnic set templates, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ cardstock
  • Scissors and tape for construction
  • Markers for decorating

First, prepare the cover of your book. Fold an 11″ x 36″ piece of posterboard in half to create a cover, then tape or glue two, 4.5″ x 7.5″ pockets to the inside.

Now for the picnic blanket page! Begin with a 25″ x 31.5″ piece of wrapping paper, laid out flat, design side up…

Fold the right and left sides of the wrapping paper inwards, meeting in the center (apologies for the masking tape rolls…the wrapping paper wouldn’t stay flat for the photo!).

Next fold the top and bottom upwards and downwards, meeting in the center.

Finally, fold the wrapping paper in half, to the right, so it fits inside the book’s cover like a page…

To attach the page to the book cover, use scissors to cut 2 small slits, each about 1″ from the top and bottom of the cover. Make sure to cut through both the cover and the pages!

Now unfold the picnic page, located the slits, and thread the ends of a craft tie or pipe cleaner through both.

Refold the picnic page, close the cover, and locate the two ends of the craft tie. Tab them sharply to the spine of the book cover, and reinforce the connection with tape.

Print as many picnic place settings as you would like from the template, then color and cut them out. Slide them into the pockets of your book.

Add a title to the front of your book, tuck it under you arm, and head out for a picnic with your favorite friends or stuffed animals!

If you’re feeling extra creative and Piranesi-inspired, instead of having a picnic blanket with a wrapping paper design, flip it over to the blank side and draw a map leading to your favorite picnic spot or literary landscape!