Apr 042015
Memory Quilt Polaroid Style

Today I want to share with you  a fabulous way to preserve memories, especially if you have a ton of t-shirts or jerseys just laying around taking up drawer or storage space: A Memory Quilt.  This one is designed around the shape and design of Polaroid photos!

Memory Quilt  Polaroid Style

The finished quilt. Source.

Memory Keeper

Memory Quilt Polaroid Style


It appears I am a real sentimentalist.  Perhaps a bit more than others.  Since I began blogging here at Nicer Than New, I have had a few posts about preserving memories and memorabilia.  The first was called “The Memory Keeper” back in May.  In it, I related how 5 amazing kids grew up on my little court and are now all in university.  I was always the neighbourhood photographer.  They always knew I would have a camera in hand to record their shared events.

The next entry also had to do with photographs when I asked “Are Photo Albums a Thing of the Past?”   I sure hope not but I will keep filing pictures away in hopes the next generation will appreciate the effort.

I also shared a Photoshop creation of my daughter in a ballet pose.  I made it look like an oil painting and printed it on stretched canvas.  A most treasured creation.

My 18 year old daughter has grown up in the digital age.  Memories are shared instantaneously and then  left out there in cyber-world.  Lovely Miss Nice danced on a competitive dance team for 12 years, performed in small plays, public speaking events and many other activities where you get a T-shirt.  They were all stuffed in a drawer.  We also still have team track suits, bits of costumes etc. 

Knowing she was off to university last September, I wanted to send her with some cozy piece of memorabilia to remember her pre-uni days.

My lovely niece, Sheilagh (yes, we are of Irish decent!), who loves to quilt  agreed to help me out.  By day, she is a commercial  interior designer so of course I left the design up to her.  She had always wanted to try a Polaroid design and I agreed.

Be sure to visit her blog: Lay it on Me Baby and check out her post on this design.  Be sure to look at all her GORGEOUS designs!  BTW:  Isn’t that the best blog name for someone who started out making Baby Quilts!  Love it!

Memory Quilt:  Polaroid Style

I raided Miss Nice’s room to dig out t-shirts and other stuff we have both stashed away over the years… Montessori pre-school t-shirt, dance competition t-shirts, her dance team track suit, t-shirts from voluteer activities including her trip to the Philippines and swatches for dance competition costumes to name a few.

I did not tell Miss Nice of our plan.  My niece lives in London, Ontario which is a couple hours drive from Toronto.  When I delivered to her the fabulous Mid-Century coffee table I refinished for her last spring, I also passed on a garbage bag full of all the t-shirts etc.  Miss Nice was with me and had no idea!

I asked for a “throw” sized quilt and I wanted one side to be a soft “Minky” type of fabric. 

The end result is so fun and quite artistic.  Since each piece is small, she “cropped”  the t-shirt in some interesting ways.  Others may not know the significance but Miss Nice does. 

Here are a few:

Montessori Pre-School.

They had a t-shirt they wore on school excursions.  Yup!  I saved it!

Memory Quilt  Polaroid Style

The insignia from her Montessori Pre-School. She thrived there!

Dance Studio Track Suit

Memory Quilt  Polaroid Style

Competitive dance for 12 years.


NBA Raptors Mini Dance Pack

This was so much fun for her and her best friend to be selected to be part of this team when she was 10 or 11.  Yes, she danced on the basketball floor at quarter time!  Funnily,  to this day, she has NO CLUE about basketball!

Memory Quilt  Polaroid Style

NBA Raptors Mini Dance Team

Swatch from her School Uniform

Miss Nice attended a designated Arts School for 6 years.  She owned only ONE KILT for all that time.  No regrets having that thing cut up!

Memory Quilt  Polaroid Style

A swatch from her school kilt.

Swatch from Summer Camp Hat

Miss Nice attended the Centauri Summer Arts Camp four summers.  If your child is interested in the arts and you want to give them an amazing experience with professionals in their fields, be sure to check out their website.   If you go the the Musical Theater page, Miss Nice is pictured in the banner.  In summer of 2016, she hopes to be a counselor there.

Memory Quilt  Polaroid Style

Fabulous Arts Camp near Niagara Falls, Canada

Service Trip to the Philippines

When Miss Nice was in Grade 11, over her Christmas break, she traveled with a group of students and teachers to assist in building houses and working with kids in the slums of Manila.  It was rewarding and life changing.

Memory Quilt  Polaroid Style

Life changing experience

Intricate Stitching

Beyond the very clever design, you can see in the photos the intricate stitching Sheilagh used.  Working with t-shirt material was a bit tricky but we think the end result is PERFECT:  A cozy back with all sorts of special memories on the front.

What a lucky girl!

What do you do with t-shirt and other textile memorabilia?

Ever thought of having a quilt made?

I look forward to all your comments
and be sure to follow me any way you wish!



Feb 242015
Nicer Than New

It would appear I have taken an unintentional blogging hiatus which sadly lasted THREE months.

I am calling it a hiatus or break but it was really a bit of a blogging block.  If I had been asked “What’s in your way?”  I really did not have an answer.  Not a really good one such as “work got in the way” or ” I was terribly ill”.  I don’t have any really good answer.

I have been doing lots of projects and photographing them but I just didn’t blog about it.

I have a few inklings to the cause of my gap none of which should have caused a THREE month gap.  Perhaps the combination of them all just made me hit a wall. 

Here are a few samples:

  • I have been really wanting to grow my blog.  So why stop writing you ask?  Good question.  It was not meant to be so long.  I just wanted to ponder on the direction I want to go in.
  • I wanted to “spruce up” my web design.  I actually spent a great deal of time on this aspect.  But is was mostly in researching and in the end I have only made a few changes:  header, background and fonts.
  • My office is a disaster.  My office is in a very large room in our lower level walkout.  My desk faces a lovely patio door with a view of the ravine behind our house.  That is all lovely but behind me is an absolute mess ABYSS of projects waiting to happen.  Everything from sewing to  upholstery to painting.  You name it and it is most likely somewhere in that jumble.
  • Too many projects in the wings resulting in a lack of focus. My friends and family praise me for my talent and great organization skills but for some reason, between the state of my office and the number of projects, I just lost focus.  Plus, I need to sell more of my painted and upcylced furniture pieces.

Okay so enough whining!!! 

There is NOTHING IN MY WAY!  Well nothing a little scheduling and organizing will not handle.

Please welcome me back to the
Blogging World


Wish me LUCK!


Oct 102014

It has been a few weeks since I attended my very first bloggers’ conference, BlogPodium, here in Toronto.   My mind is still mulling over all I learned and I would like to share my experiences.

As many of you know, I have been blogging for just over a year. It has been a great journey of learning, experimenting and growing as a blogger and a DIYer.

In spring 2014, when the dates and registration information was announced for the Toronto bloggers’ conference, BlogPodium, I swear I must have been one of the first to register. At the time, I was in a bit of slump and knew I REALLY needed to attend the conference.

Age Demographic

At the same time I was very apprehensive. Why? To be honest: my age.  Let’s face it, on average there appears to be more bloggers out there under the age of 50 than over 50. I fall into the latter group. Looking at the pictures of the attendees from the previous BlogPodium and other conferences, it seems everyone is young, pretty and “hip”. I was worried I would be out of place. However, this is an apprehension I have ignored many times before. You see, having my first and only child at 40 sure helped. I kept me young even though I was often the oldest of the dance moms, the oldest of her classmates’ parents, etc.
Having said that:

  • I was the one who took them to Canada’s Wonderland,  a big Toronto area amusement park,  AND rode all the roller coasters with them… and I still would if they would let me go too!
  • I was the one who finished two university degrees after the age of 40.
  • And I was the one who started a blog after the age of 50.

The BlogPodium conference was held right downtown Toronto at the beautiful and historic, Royal York Hotel which happens to be linked underground to the subway and commuter train (GO Train) station.

The schedule for the GO that morning meant I either arrived very early or quite late. I chose arriving early. Wandering around the hotel lobby and the reception area for the conference, I thought “Yep, look all these “young” ladies.”

Regardless, I grabbed a coffee, found a table in the main ballroom and hung out. As the room began to fill, two ladies sat down at a table near me and they looked over 50!!! so I joined them! Perfect! My apprehension, like so many times before, was totally dispelled.

Keynote Speaker

After following Donna from Funky Junk Interiors for some time, I was aware of her journey and it was exciting to hear her share it with the audience. She was so inspiring and made me feel a bit silly for my “age” apprehension.

I came away with this message:

Be authentic.

Write out your mantra. Then stay authentic to it.

Session Highlights

Reviewing the schedule, I realized I must have signed up for nearly every breakout session by some misunderstanding of the process. Or perhaps it is just they all sounded so great! Regardless, it did give me some choice.

I also had a chance to say hello to a few bloggers I follow on Bloglovin who came from a considerable distance:  Donna from Funky Junk Interiors came from British Columbia and Danielle from Finding Silver Pennies came all the way from Massachusetts!  I also met some great new people including Jordana from White Cabana and the lovely Jennylyn, president of Homestead House Paint Company which manufactures and distributes a number of great products including Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint and the new mineral paint Fusion which I am dying to try soon.

What I Took Away

My head is still hurting with all the info and ideas I picked up at this conference.  Other than what I learned, I came away with a few things:

  • I wish I was two people so I could have attended more of the breakout sessions
  • Jennifer Flores and her team sure know how  to run a great conference
  • The Royal York caters great food!
  • Don’t leave your business cards a home!!!

and lastly, as I have discovered in so many situations in my life “

You CAN teach an old dog blogger new tricks!


Did you attend this conference? 

What was your experience? 

Have you implemented what you learned?

Love to hear from you!


Sep 032014

I am declaring September 1st as my New Year’s Day!

September 2013 is when I began to blog in earnest meaning it is now my one year anniversary of blogging.  However, I must admit, I am not celebrating.  I am actually very disappointed in myself.  In reality I blogged, “in earnest”, up until April.  Then I fell into a slump and my entries became very sporadic to the point where this is the first entry since mid-July!  A mere 48 days!  How can I call myself a blogger and create a following if I don’t post anything???

I can certainly come up with a number of excuses…all very lame!  Sure, it was a busy summer.  Breaking my ankle and saying good bye to our lovely dog did not help.  Then a week vacation.  Preparing for Miss Nice to go off to University also occupied my mind and my energies.  Not to mention the arrival of a new fur baby, Chester.  More about him in another post.

Like I said LAME excuses.
If I were honest, I just got LAZY!

However, I did THINK about my blog often.  I’ve been thinking about:

  • the design: fonts and backgrounds.  I changed it up a few months ago but I am not completely happy
  • developing a series or two: a topic or theme I can post once a week allowing me to plan ahead
  • hosting a link party or becoming a co-host with some other bloggers.
  • but most of all, I thought about how to motivate myself to finish the b-zillion projects I have been ignoring for MONTHS!!!  After all, that was why I started the blog!  To share my passion for updating furniture, sewing, cooking and other crafty stuff.

Three days ago, we dropped Miss Nice off at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario to begin the next exciting phase in her life. 

Throughout my life, I always felt September 1st should be New Year’s Day because unlike January, so many new things happen in September.  Not just back to school but the end of the summer routine and more time indoors.  In January, it is just the same ole same ole.

So I am declaring September 1st to be is my New Year’s Day
my New Year’s resolution
is to get off my butt and

  • start writing posts.  I love writing and sharing!
  • finish painting the 7 pieces I have partially completed … for other people!  (My friends and family have far too much patience for me!)
  • work through the other pieces I have in the garage including some upholstery projects I was once so eager to get at.
  • organize my office! I have a wonderful, large space but it is by no means pretty.  It is a disaster.  You guessed it… a disaster of unfinished projects!
  • workout more.  My ankle is healed and getting stronger so why am I not visiting the gym.

I could go on but I will not for now.

I hope by the official New Year, I will be well on my way with these few resolutions.  Check back  in four months…

Do you agree September 1st should be New Year’s Day? 


…and a better blogger!

Happy New Year


Feb 262014

A few months back I posted about my addiction to on-line Estate Sales.  Recently I vowed to myself I would NOT BID on anything until I clear out much of what I  have.  But OMG, I don’t seem to be able to control it!  Is this an indication of some sort of disorder?  I fear it may be!  Regardless, I bid and acquired 8 side / occasional tables for $160.  Hmmm…. $20 per table may not be profitable in the end but, ah they were so sweet! 

When I look in the garage and my workshop, I think I should change my name to “Side Table Joanie”!!  I have far too many side table / bed side tables to work on!!  I fear I am a hoarder of sorts but according to the MAYO Clinic, I am not!  Apparently, I am more of a collector

It’s important to note that hoarding is different from collecting. People who have collections, such as stamps or model cars, deliberately search out specific items for their collections. Collectors often categorize their items and carefully display them. Hoarders, on the other hand, will save random items they encounter in their daily life and store them haphazardly in their homes or surrounding areas.
Mayo Clinic website

Well that’s good news!  Back to my latest stash….


Most of what I acquired this past weekend is very much the Bombay Company style and some pieces are from there.  The previous owners obviously liked the look.  Everything needs attention of some sort.  Maybe not the best bargain but they all have great  potential!

set of 4-1

Four tables: 2 matching pie crust, one drum and one shelved.

The two pie crust tables and the shelved table are from Bombay Company.  Their furniture seems to hold some of its value due to their practical size and classic style.  Still, don’t people get bored of mahogany?  I do.  So maybe a mix of wood and paint.  We’ll see.


half moon

Half Moon Console table.  I love these tables.

This is another piece from the Bombay Company.  These demi-lune tables are so classic and practical.  Lots of potential to add some real interest to an entrance or hall.  It could even be a small desk … a laptop station.


set of 3

Three Tables:  Marble topped pedestal,
tiny with a tray pull out
and a vintage open shelf with drawer.

The marble topped table has some faint stains.  I am currently trying a technique to remove them.  I will post my success or failure at a later date.  It is a very study table and I think cleaning up the marble and painting the base will make it very special.  The square table is teeny tiny!  It is very Bombay Company-ish.  It has a little tray that pulls our for drinks or in these days, a smartphone LOL.   The side table is quite interesting too, with the open part at the top and the drawer at the bottom.  I love the fret work at the back of the top.


Do you think this was a good haul for $160? 

Was I compulsive or smart to snatch them up? 
I would love to hear what you think? 

Regardless, they all have great possibilities and this is a HOBBY / business so …

Can I make them

Nicer Than New?

I think so!


Feb 092014

A few weeks back, I posted a “Chess Anyone” table makeover where I took an odd sized table and turned it into a games table. 

This is the “before” picture:


See anything interesting?

The round table in the middle was the table I made into a game table. 
Now I want you to take a very close look at this picture. 
Does anything immediately jump out at you as being interesting? 
Come on!  Seriously… be honest!

Well, when I published this post, my niece Sheilagh, a certified interior designer and amazing quilter, emailed me within minutes

All Sheilagh wanted to know was, when I purchased the tall round table, did I get that weird little table in the background?  The one with with two tiers and the angled legs????   So much for my amazing post, all she could see was a potentially fabulous Mid-Century Modern Coffee table! 

I did indeed acquire this table at the same time and it truly  is the treasure of the lot!

Up here in the Great White North (Canada) we have had many amazing furniture manufacturers.  Canadian-made really means something especially if you are looking at Mid Century Modern furniture.  And this piece is no exception. 

I love researching furniture origins.  This piece was built by Snyder Manufacturing in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.  This city is not far from Toronto.  It was in business for 114 years! and closed in 2004.   Imagine!  114 years! 

When Heywood-Wakefield was making its name in the US, Snyder was doing it in Canada. 

Back to my estate sale purchase, YES I did get this cute table and soon it will belong to Sheilagh AND she has the plan!  Who  am I to argue with an designer!


Snyder Mfg Table: Mid Century Modern!


The top needs work!

 Stay tuned for the transformation!

In the meantime, check out Sheilagh’s quilting talent at
Lay It On Me Baby!
for extraordinary Quilting talent!

Tell me honestly… did you see the table? 
Did it look special to you?
Do you love MCM?


I Do!  and would love to hear your suggestions!
(but you know I need to go with the Designer!)
It will be




You may find me linking at these great parties.

Not every week and not all of them. Be sure to watch for me!


Heavens Garden
DIY Show Off
  Three Mango Seeds party
Monday Funday at TWCS
Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home Metamorphis Monday  
The DIY'ers
The Gunny Sack
cozy little house button  
A Stroll Thru Life
House on the Way A Bowl Full of Lemons
Photobucket SoMe2
Ivy and Elephants
The DIY Dreamer
frog tiny
 photo 1001954_10101065966207063_96074138_n_zpsa41e371a.jpg Before and After Wednesday Image.jpg vintage inspiration Be Inspired 300  
 photo grabbutton2_zps7d635a69.png
Creativity Unleashed Link Party
birdsonawirebutton The Thrifty Groove DIY Vintage Chic Craft Dictator The Shabby Nest
  Tickled Pink at 504 Main Chic on a Shoestring Decorating Furniture Feature Fridays  
  nestwegg2 nestwegg2
Too Much Time On My Hands DIY It's Overflowing Live Love Create  
RRbutton125 TDC Before and After  

Dec 042013

What a week! Not only did my blog receive, to date, the highest number of visitors in one day, Nicer Than New was also nominated for the Liebster Award!

The Liebester Award is an amazingly exciting and fun award  being passed around to smaller/newer sites around the blogosphere.  I am SOoooo excited and thankful to have received the nomination from from the talented sisters, Jodie and Paige at Sypsie Designs.  This honour has made my week!  

How it works is fun and simple:

Award Rules

  1. Thank the blogger who presented you with the Liebster Award, and link back to his or her blog.
  2. Answer the questions from the nominator; list 11 random facts about yourself, and create 11 questions for your nominees.
  3. Present the Liebster Award to several other bloggers, who have blogs with 200 followers or less, whom you feel deserve to be noticed. Leave a comment on the blogs letting the owners know they have been chosen.
  4. Upload the Liebster Award image to your blog.


Here are the questions I was asked…

1. Why did you decide to start a blog?

I would have to say Pinterest was a huge influence. Before Pinterest, I thought bloggers mostly wrote about social issues or relationships. After discovering Pinterest, I entered the world of DIYers.  Having always been a “hands on” kind of person whether it be decorating, sewing, woodworking, cooking, gardening and more, I was so inspired to do more projects. In particular, painting and re-upholstering vintage furniture.  Friends and family suggested I set up a side business to sell items and perhaps get commissions. But how to start?How about a blog? Earlier this year, I set up a website and social media accounts for a charity I am involved in. I enjoyed the process and learned so much. In the summer, it seemed natural to launch a blog. It’s only 3 months old!

2. What is your greatest influence/inspiration for your posts? (Pinterest, a specific blog, family, random objects… anything!)

As I said in #1, Pinterest is probably my biggest influence.As for blogs I follow, there are so many I love! I particularly like bloggers who also update furniture like Blue Egg Brown Nest, Three Mango Seeds, Maryann’s blogs  Domestically Speaking  and the Power of Paint.  I love Roadkill Rescue because I seem to also pick  up trash LOL.I am also heavily influenced by Vintage furniture pieces.  It amazes and inspires me how paint and upholstery make a dark drab piece POP!  with detail and beauty.  Making the end result “Nicer than New”!

3.  If you could be any animal, what would it be and why?

This may sound strange but I would like to be an elephant!  Elephants are fascinating to me.  Their lifespan and rate of maturity is very similar to humans.  They also are able to express emotions like empathy, sadness, joy, etc.  But what I would like to have is their apparent telepathy abilities.  And I wouldn’t hurt to be a vegetarian!  🙂


4. What is your favorite post you’ve completed to date?

I love sharing my projects but I would have to say my post about my visit to the St. Lawrence Antique Market in downtown Toronto was the most fun!  It was a beautiful Sunday morning and the fall colours were beginning to change. I was a tourist in my own city and I saw so many cool items that I shared on my blog.

West side of Main building has outdoor restaurant seating for Paddington's Pump.


Vendor stalls in front of the North Building and trucks unloading

 5. Your favorite store to shop at is…

It would be a toss-up between Home Depot and HomeSense. Both great but for different reasons. But in the final analysis, it has to be HomeSense! 


6. If your life were a movie, what actress or actor would play your character?

This one is easy!  It would have to be Julia Louis-Dreyfus!  When Seinfeld came on the air, a good friend in another city specifically called me to demand I seek compensation for the fact Elaine had stolen my identity!


I wish I had aged as well as she did 🙂

7. What is your top blogging goal for 2014?

Nicer Than New has really come a long way since September and it is all so encouraging.  Who knew?  My goal for 2014 is to grow my blog and its visitors to the point where I can become involved in reviewing products and interacting more with other bloggers.  In particular, I want to grow my Canadian followers.  Currently, they constitute a very small percentage of my visitors.  

8. What’s your favorite town/city in the world?

0 seneca copy

Hands down my favourite city is Paris.  A couple of years ago, my family spent a week there, staying in a rented apartment in the Latin Quarter.  I  so want to return and spend a month or more soaking up the culture and improving my French.  (Not all Canadians are bi-lingual).

9. What’s your favorite room in your house and why?

My most favourite room is our family room in the lower level of our home.  About 6 years ago, we renovated this area transforming it from a nice big space that looked like a throw back to the 70s to a sleek, clean 21st century look.  Some day, I will share but for now, let me say our family room is huge with a full size snooker table (as in 6ft by 12 ft), a big screen TV, a bar / server area and lots of space.  Best of all, it is a “walk out” to a gorgeous ravine lot.  Before the reno,  the room made me sad and now, even after several years it makes me smile and feel proud to share!

10. If you were a fabric pattern, what would you be and why?


I love to be busy but I also like structure and organization.   I could not be an abstract and I could not be plain.    So, I would have to say I would be a trellis pattern.  Timeless, busy yet structured. 


Now 10 Random Things About Me!

  1. I am Canadian and I don’t like hockey and I am not fluent in French
  2. I love power tools
  3. I wear Birkenstock sandals at home instead of slippers
  4. I have been with my husband longer than I have not been with him.
  5. I skipped Grade 2
  6. I grew up on a farm in southwestern Ontario and I had a pet cow named “Tame-ee”
  7. The people at Domino’s pizza know everyone in our family by name
  8. I love to read and recently realized I am a closet Sci-Fi fan (just finished devouring Margaret Atwood’s “Oryx and Crake”)
  9. I am a certified accountant with a B. Ed. degree in Adult Education and a M.A. and I have had 4 distinct careers to date.
  10. Without L’Oreal, I would be  a “grey fox”
  11. I have a cupboard in my kitchen that contains 56 cookbooks not to mention folders of recipes


Now I Get to Nominate a few Bloggers!

(Note:  I checked Bloglovin’ and Facebook to determine if these blogs had less than 200 followers)


Through the Dutch Door

First Home Dreams

24 Cottonwood Lane

Our Secondhand House

Lulu Musings

Thousand Island Mama

Up With Furniture


And here are my questions…

  1. Why did you decide to start blogging?
  2. What is your most memorable vacation destination?
  3. What is your favourite quick go-to recipe?
  4. Choose a movie or record album you like and tell us why?
  5. What is your favourite blog post you have completed to date?
  6. If you were dropped off on a deserted island and you could only have three items with you what would they be and why?
  7. What is your most prized possession?
  8. If you were reborn as an animal, what would it be and why?
  9. What is the best book you have read in the past 5 years and why?
  10. If weight was a non issue, what’s one thing you would eat every day?
  11. What are your future plans or goals for blogging?

Again, a BIG THANK YOU to Jodie and Paige at Sypsie Designs.  Be sure to check out their blog and their fun furniture projects!




You may find me linking at these great parties.

Not every week and not all of them. Be sure to watch for me!



Three Mango Seeds Heavens Garden
The Gunny Sack
DIY Show Off
Monday Funday at TWCS Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home    
The DIY'ers

cozy little house button Inspire Me
Tuesday @
A Stroll
Thru Life
Metamorphis Monday   House on the Way A Bowl Full of Lemons
  SoMe2 Photobucket
Linky Party
The DIY Dreamer

frog tiny

Ivy and Elephants startathome
 photo grabbutton2_zps7d635a69.png
The Thrifty Groove   vintage inspiration Be Inspired 300
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating   DIY Vintage Chic Craft Dictator The Shabby Nest
jenrizzo   Tickled Pink at 504 Main    
Furniture Feature Fridays
  DIY It's Overflowing RRbutton125 TDC Before and After  

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