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My pride has never stopped me from accepting free things when the opportunity presents itself. If there’s one thing I really don’t like, it’s waste, so recycling, upcycling, and reusing things is right up my alley.

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Thank goodness for a large trunk.

So, when I spotted an oversized armchair at the end of someone’s driveway when I was dropping Evelyn off for school, I knew I had to go back to snag it. We’re always in need of extra seats for all the booties we have in our house, and I knew just where I was going to put it. I had envisioned a little reading nook, with a nice bookshelf for our growing collection of books. Perfection! When I took Claire and Kate to school and dropped them off, I drove the Suburban, went back to rescue the discarded chair, and wrestled that sucker into the back. Even as big as the trunk is in the Suburban, I still had to tie down the hatch to go home. If there’s ever a reason to keep spare pieces of twine I’ve cut off the hay in my car, picking up free chairs seems like a darn good one.

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Once I got it home, I wrestled it back out of the car–thank goodness I have a strong back–kicked it into the garage…and let it sit, where it basically became a glorified cat scratching post and bed for an entire pride of farm cats. I wanted so many times to start the project but was entirely too intimidated to do it. Plus, I always feel a bit guilty doing a “for-fun” project when I have so many other things to do (weeds, I’m looking at you). So it sat for months, a sad reminder that I’d become a sort of free chair hoarder. Did I mention I already had another chair in the garage that I’d found earlier in the year? 😬

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Over the spring and into the summer, we’ve been blessed to have a lot of guests come visit and with every one, I’m able to vault myself further along my to-do list. Most of the time, I use the free babysitting to weed the garden or clean the chicken coop. Any work I ask for help on is usually something that needs to be done, but is the epitome of boring (washing machine plumbing? Check. New wiring for thermostats? Check? Switching outlets and building closets? Check and check). During back to back visits from two different sister-in-laws, they gave me the motivation to get that chair done. And by motivation, I mean they did it for me. All of it. ALL. Call me spoiled, I don’t care.

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Sara was the one with enough guts to drag that old chair inside and rip it apart. I don’t know how many staples she yanked out of that thing, but it couldn’t have been less than a five gallon bucket. She kept each piece of fabric, memorized how it was supposed to go together, helped me pick out new fabric, and cut out the new pieces for me.

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Seriously? Cardboard armrests? C’mon, furniture builders. You could do a little better than that.
After Sara left (I was tempted to beg her to stay and finish it so I wouldn’t have to face my fears and do it), Amy came along and while I was still hemming and hawing about putting the Humpty Dumpty chair back together again, she did it for me. Other than one measly arm cushion I re-padded, a couple staples I pulled, and help figuring out what the sewing machine’s deal was when it didn’t want to work, I stood back, slack-jawed and in awe of her skills. Seriously. It’s Etsy-level gorgeous and so sturdy it may be kid-proof.

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New bookshelf, new reading chair…I’m in love!

Did we need another chair? Probably. But was the chair (and my beautiful new bookshelf) a rare fun project? Definitely. I love the pop of colors, even if Jack and I disagree on whether the fabric makes it look like an old lady chair. I love how comfortable the oversized seat is and that it’s probably large enough to squeeze two or more kids in, which frees up the couch, especially when we have more butts come and visit again because any hostess knows, you can never have too many seats. However, I may keep the chair all to myself and call it my throne. I am the master of the house, after all. I do humbly bow to Amy and Sara’s mad skills, and having watched them work, it gives me a teensy bit of confidence, that maybe–just maybe–I could pull off a job like that myself. Now, to convince myself that the weeds can wait…

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True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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