Sunday, September 10, 2006

Michael T. Carroll

“Thirty-nine years old, NYC Firefighter of Ladder Co. 3, a native of Yorkville, on September 11, 2001, heroically in the line of duty while trying to save others at the World Trade Center”

This morning, I drank my coffee from a cup without a handle… I will never be able to look at a broken cup again without thinking of Michael T. Carroll.

I did not know Michael T. Carroll, but after everything I have read, I feel as if I know him now. A dedicated family man, firefighter at Ladder 3 for 16 years, an uncle, a son, a brother, a husband, a baseball coach, a friend - an honorable man – Michael was all of these things and more. I read where he had snapped off the coffee cup handles on all of cups at the firehouse. No one was ever sure why, but it was his legacy somehow. Michael was also a teacher of young firemen; he trained them to be their best, and not to back down from a challenge.

It has been five years since his family has seen his smiling face, five years since Michael and his buddies were hanging out at the firehouse shooting the breeze, five years since his children received a hug from their dad. Five years ago today, no one could have imagined what would happen “tomorrow”. Perhaps if we had we would’ve held our loved ones a little closer, kissed them a little longer, and said all of the things we wanted them to know about how we felt about them.

When I signed up to participate in the 2,996 project, I had no idea how it would effect me. I looked at Michael Carroll’s photograph, and there was a depth in his eyes that rocked me to my core. I began searching for information about this amazingly heroic man, and I smiled through the tears at tributes his family and friends had written about him.

Mr. Carroll was a true humanitarian. His sister wrote that during a blizzard in 1996, after what must’ve been a harrowing day at the hospital for his father’s surgery, Michael picked up his fellow New Yorkers and drove them home one by one, instead of just going home to the warmth of his own family. That is the kind of man that we lost on September 11, 2001.

So today, on the day before the awful attacks that rocked our nation, please do me a favor. Say his name aloud – Michael T. Carroll – and take a moment to be thankful that our country had 39 years with this amazing man on earth.

To Michael’s wife Nancy, and children Brendan and Olivia – We will NEVER forget the hero that we never had the privilege to know… Our hearts ache for you.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Chairs DONE (well, almost)

I still have to do the back, but I need some non decorative upholstery tacks to affix the ply-grip to the backing first - note to self: Thumbtacks do NOT work... AND I have to permanently attach the seat to the wooden frame so it won't dump you out in the floor! And I still need to figure out a solution for the sides (where the staples are along the bottom, may put a decorative tack edge because I thought it looked stupid with fabric on it.

UGH, now I have a WHOLE 'nother chair to do!

Sunday, May 28, 2006


Got the chair covered! Still working on the arms, and the tufting still has to be done on the back (have to glue the buttons to the blanks because they pop off really easily). Decided not to use the top and side pieces and just cut the backrest piece larger so I could wrap it all the way around the chair. Did have to use a small triangle of fabric along the area where the seat cushion meets the back (you can kinda see it in the photo), but you won't be able to see it because of the wooden frame.

Also, cleaned the wooden frame and oiled it down with Old English almond oil - smells SO good! I'm afraid I'm going to have a tough time getting the tufting to be tight enough, but we'll see, hopefully once ALL of the buttons are in place it will be more pronounced. Photo shows two top buttons in place, but it is barely noticable.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The FUN stuff

Now for the fun stuff - picking out fabric, making buttons, etc.

Step 8.
Drew a diagram showing how all of the pattern pieces will fit onto 54 inch fabric. Determined that it would take 2.8 yards per chair (only because I'm choosing a pattern that I can use vertically or horizonatally - would not have worked with say a striped fabric). Got my fabric (7 yards) on Wednesday - 9.99 yd at Hancock for a gorgeous burgundy crushed velvet. Was a little bit worried that my buttons wouldn't work because they were for light/med weight fabrics, but the lady at Hancock said it'd probably work fine and she was right! Bonus: all buttons 1/2 off at Hancock this weekend!

Step 9.
Covered my buttons AND the foot rests, though I'm not entirely sure why I bothered with the bottom foot rest, because this chair will be bolted down so it doesn't recline - so the footrest will never be seen! DUH!

My obsession - THE CHAIR

Monday night I disassembled the WHOLE chair!

Step 4: Unbolted recliner mechanism from wooden cross piece under the chair (4 bolts, 2 screws). Removed foot swag (don't know what to call it) from the wooden base. It's attached to the front of the chair upholstery with a cardboard stablizing strip. There was a small piece of piping stapled to the underside of the chair. NOTE: The's a brace along the bottom of the chair that is broken, looks/feels like a piece of wire that's been wrapped in brown paper tape. Will probably replace this wiht a couple pieces of galvanized fencing wire.

Step 5.
Removed foot pieces (had to put some soap on the bolts to get them to move). Noticed reclining mechanism is missing a spring, but since the whole brace is broken, I won't be allowing this chair to recline at this point, so I think it's a non-issue at this point.

Step 6.
Removed staples from bottom, looks like gray vinyl type material is attached to both the seat and the back in order to pull it through the area between the seat and the back - then stapled on the back inside. Finally got fabric off the back!

Step 7.
Took off all fabric, used seam ripper to detach fabrics. I will have to remember to add the seam allowance to the back piece because it was sewn to the white backing material (that lays between the foam cushion and the springs). I think I'm going to try to redo the backing without sewing. I can probably get away with stapling the front piece to the sides, then stapling the side pieces with a cardboard stabilizing strip.

GOD, what a MESS!!!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The chair that ate my brain...

Bought a couple of old recliners yesterday for 20 bucks a piece. I'm going to tackle my very first upholstery project - and I'm terrified! (thanks MOM!) So I've posted on a couple message boards and been reading a LOT on how to reupholster furniture - it's overwhelming, but I'm trying to approach it with a mantra - "slow and steady wins the race" - or something like that...

Here's a pic of the chair and the step by step:

Step 1: Removed back - metal flex strip on the sides (gonna have to buy some of that and figure out how to use it!). The fabric along the top was put on with a cardboard strip and batting on top, then it was pulled tight along the bottom and stapled (raw edge). I believe the flex striping was put on last? Not sure about that. There are two screws on either side of the tufted chair back that hold the wooden frame on.

Step 2:
Removed side panel upholstery. I may remove the cardboard and staples and then paint or restain the inner portion - not sure why it was upholstered in the first place...

Step 3: Removed cording and fabric from the arm of the chair - you can see how nasty the upholstery is in this pic! Will probably trim the chair in some sort of braided trim or cord to avoid having to use piping.

Fabric Measurements:
Back - 20x32"
Arm Cover - 3x16" (trim - 37")
Side Panel - 21x3" (trim - 46.5)

Monday, January 16, 2006

Been a while - I've been JUICED!

I've been really juiced creatively for the past few weeks. Guess it's because Christmas is over and I finally have time to craft for myself again! At any rate, here are my latest creations.

Stained Glass mosaic lamp - this is the beginning of my den redo.

I'm planning to have the flooring replaced, repaint (gold w/ a purple accent wall), make some sort of scarf/valance for my red beaded curtains, make new throw pillows, and buy an area rug.

Here's the mini-mural I painted in the bathroom today. We have a medicine cabinet (see knob at the right) that used to be a window. The door was plain and I wanted something spectacular on it, so I copied Vincet Van Gogh's "Starry Night on the Rhone."

Friday, December 02, 2005

Dear Mr. POS

Below is a letter I wrote to DH's EX-boss today... I'm not going to send it, but writing it was certainly cathartic...

Mr. ______ –

I’m not quite sure what good, if any, this letter will do, but I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t say something about the way my husband, Scott, has been treated while working for your company. I just need you to see things from our perspective for a moment.

Scott has been nothing but loyal to you and your company from day one. He rarely called in sick to work and really loved his job. After the first lay-off, I was skeptical about him coming back to work for you – since the Decatur store was never reopened. Scott assured me that you were a great person and a fantastic boss, and he was excited at the prospect of helping set up a new store in Athens (which also never happened). Naturally, I couldn’t begrudge him this “great job”. After the second lay-off, I was irritated that Scott waited for you to reopen – agreeing to drive all the way to Huntsville every day. There was quite a bit of strife in our marriage because of it. Still, we made it through, and Scott convinced me that we should give it another shot.

Naturally, we were both thunderstruck by your decision to let him go yesterday. The disappointment on his face when I returned home from work yesterday was heartbreaking. He really looked up to you, and thought, naively, that you’d be as loyal to him as he was to you. He said something about a “misguided sense of loyalty” last night, and it pains me to know that you caused him to second-guess one of the things I love most about him.

I have to tell you, that it looks bad that you hired him back just long enough to get the store set up again, work Black Friday, and then proceeded to let him go just before Christmas. I can’t imagine a smart businessperson deciding in a matter of 10 days to essentially restructure the organization – surely you can see that it looks like you had this all planned out from the beginning – to use him to do the grunt work and then toss him aside when you were done. Scott isn’t angry with you, but I see the disappointment in his eyes, and feel the defeat that he must be feeling – feeling that I was right all along and you didn’t care one bit about how your decisions affected your employees’ personal lives.

It’s quite frustrating that, now that the unemployment has run out (thanks to your previous 2 lay-offs in the past 2 years), and all the local businesses have already hired their Christmas help, my husband once again finds himself without a job. I’m angry that we have had to sacrifice for the past 2 years because of your imprudent business decisions - only to find ourselves struggling again.

I understand that you have to do what you feel is right for your business, whatever that may be. I sincerely hope that you didn’t purposely plan to put us in this situation. Surely you can understand the frustration and heartache that *I* am feeling seeing my husband treated this way. Once again, I’m not sure what good this letter will do, but I need you to know what we’re feeling, if nothing else to get it all off my chest.

Truthfully, I see this as an excellent opportunity for Scott – to find a job where his loyalty and hard work will finally be appreciated. It will be nice to avoid the constant uncertainty hanging over our heads. Not that it diminishes the disappointment, but sometimes you have to try to find the bright side in situations like these

I wish you no ill will. I just hope that none of your current or future employees ever has to suffer the disillusion and defeat that we are feeling right now.