De-clutter Your Counter with Antique Cast Iron Grate

Our home was built in 1921 and it truly has a lot of character and unique features. I love old homes and have always been attracted to antiques and items from the past. This idea was not mine, but borrowed. I picked up this antique cast iron heat register grate at the old house revival company for around $45. It wasn’t cheap, but I had been looking for quite some time and knew that the price was very comparable to what I had been seeing on kijiji and on the internet. I chose this one because it had a great design and the size was perfect.

It was in pretty rough shape, so I had to scrub it with a heavy-duty wire brush to get all of the loose paint off. I then spray painted it with a flat black spray paint. I flipped it upside down and had Tim mount it on the wall above the counter in our kitchen. (This was before I learned how to do wall plugs on my own.) It now serves as a “mail” holder for all of the kid’s notes from school or pieces of paper we need at our finger tips. It may be hard to tell, but we also have a few pencils and pens stuck in the end of the grate. They are very accessible, but up and off the counter. Love this project!

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Life Hacks I Love: #1 Gift Wrap Storage

It seems as though we are constantly being bombarded with new terms and jargon. I often find it hard to follow my own kids’ conversations as some of the words they use are completely foreign to me.  One of the latest terms that is circulating on the internet is “life hacks”.

What is a “life hack”?

life hack

I often browse sites that share “life hacks”, as I am always on the lookout for new and creative ways to do life in a more efficient way. Here is one that I found, tried and modified to better suit my needs.

Gift Wrap Storage

I saw this great idea for gift wrap storage on Pinterest. This hack was both easy and cheap, but I wasn’t totally impressed with it when I tried it out. The concept is simple. Cut a toilet paper roll lengthwise and slide the cardboard over the gift wrap roll to keep it secure. Unfortunately, it takes very little for the cardboard toilet paper roll to become stretched and not have enough “spring” to hold the paper in place.

toilet paper roll

This gift wrap roll is fat, so it works okay, but I can tell that with only a few uses, it would be stretched out of shape and no longer stay in place.

I was really disappointed as I thought this was a great idea. So, I came up with an easy fix. All you need are regular brads and tiny hair elastics which can be bought at the dollar store. A bag of 100 is $1. (Lets hope you don’t need all 100 for gift wrap or you may have more serious problems than how to store it).

Punch 2 holes in the toilet paper roll, stick a brad in each and stretch the elastic across to hold it securely. The great thing about this is that you can modify it by cutting out a section of the roll to make it smaller to fit around those skinny rolls of paper as well. (Otherwise, the standard size roll actually overlaps and slides right off of it). It literally takes seconds to make these and they work really well.

Now, if you are like my husband you might be saying….”that is supposed to be better than a regular elastic?”  Check out this spoof video on some of the life hacks that are circulating on the web.  Funny.

Often times, some of the “life hacks” seem like they are way more work than they are really worth, but I like this one because I find that tape damages the paper and an elastic often ends up cutting the paper.  Of course, if you make several of them, you can re-use them over and over again.

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