The Best Two DIY Projects I Ever Made

I wanted to share with you 2 of the best DIY projects I have ever made.  I started working on them many years ago.

I can’t take full credit for how wonderful these two projects have turned out, as they have been a joint DIY effort that I could not have completed without the able-bodied assistance of my hubby, Ed.  He has been at my side since both projects conception.

The Top 2 DIY Projects

I can’t say these projects were easy, as they are still on-going and have come with many of the usual DIY glitches, mistakes, and frustrations.  We didn’t  have a step-by step tutorial to follow, we just followed our gut – tender loving care and lots of time and attention.

You may be working on one or more of these projects yourself, as they are a common do-it-yourself project.  Yours may not be as far along as mine, but the steps involved to complete them is still the same.   Working on these projects can be exasperating at times, especially when you have been working on them for about 13 years, but I think in the end you will be just as delighted with how your projects turn out as I am with mine.

The Two Best DIY’s I Ever Made


When I think back to when these two projects were still pretty new, I  laugh and cry at the same time as they change so fast – one minute they are your real life little dollies that you can carry around with you where ever you go.

But they keep growing.

The Best 2 DIY Projects to make

Wait rewind, stop the clock!  I can’t .  These projects are perpetually moving forward.

Then in what seems like a blink of your eye – they are pretty much complete… all grown up.

The Best 2 DIY Projects to make

It seems like yesterday they were playing on toy horses.

two little girls on an outdoor rocking horse in a garden.

Then before you know it – they are  riding the real thing.

Young girl equestrian going over a jump.

When they were still sort of new.  My 2 projects could not be left in water alone and had to wear “water wings“.

Then blink – they can fly through the water with no wings at all.

Bucknell rowing

They used to drink formula out of baby bottles.

Now they belly up to the bar for Mardi Gras – tasting beer out of bottles.

Mardi Gras

She used to love driving her Barbie car

Barbie Car

 Or getting to drive on the bumper cars on the Ocean City, NJ Boardwalk

Bumper cars

Then blink – she is driving the real thing.


They used to love getting dressed up.


And had many dresses…. worn only once.

Prom Dresses

The first day of school …

First Daty of School

to graduations from Pre-school

Preschool Graduation

High school


and College.


Crooked teeth, years of orthodontist visits and thousand’s spent –


But worth every cent!!!

Mandy and kelly at lunch Kelly's Graduation

The next thing you know, you are saying goodbye with tears in your eyes at the station as #1 embarks on a 27- month journey across the globe with the Peace Corps.

30th-street Station

And just this week, Ed and I helped move  # 2 into her first college apartment outside of the dorms.  She won’t be home this summer as she will be working in her college town.

Lake Champlain

You only have one chance to make these projects turn out beautifully.   Tomorrow will be here before you know it.  Enjoy every moment you can because in a blink of your eye – your yesterday’s are gone, your memories will be sweet, and your nest empty.

The house is quiet now.  It’s just Ed and I.  None of their friends coming through the house – saying,   ” Hi, Mr and Mrs H, how ya doing?”  No more speakers up to full volume, or junk food in the refrigerator and pantry.  No more pool parties with their high school XC team trying to create a world record to see how many of them can  fit into the hot tub.

There is less laundry,  practically none.  Their rooms are like museums, empty of life – but exhibits of their childhood. The house is no longer filled with their presence, laughter, and goings-on.  There is a stillness about that I am just getting used to.

I could not have made these 2 projects come out as well as they did without giving my hubby half the credit.  He has been the best hands-on dad  ever- so thanks honey   x o

Green shirts
Bucknell Rowing

A fun new adventure… time for me.  When most of you are having to adjust to your project’s being out of school for the summer, I am on the other end. My first summer without #1 & #2 around.

I now can read a book on the beach without having to worry that I will lose sight of one of them, no more carpools, or teacher conferences, homework to help with, recitals, dances, bag lunches to make, etc

I will enjoy this new time in my life as it is nice to see them all grown up and happy, but in my heart they will always be like this – my precious real life little dollies.

Halloween Costumes for Kids

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  1. Your family is so lovely. My 5 children are my greatest joy as well and I was pleased to read that your husband was very hands on when it came to raising your girls. My husband was away a lot due his military career, but he made every moment count when he was home. I just discovered your site today, and I look forward to putting into practice some your great ideas. Thanks.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Francine – Thanks for taking the time to say hi and connect with me. Family is everything, especially now with what the world is dealing with. My girls and granddaughter are 6 hours away. :-( T hank goodness for Facetime and Skype I can get to see them and chat. Thanks for reading and if you ever have any questions about anything I have written about or have a project you want to do and are not sure how to proceed, don’t hesitate to ask via a comment or and email to me.

  2. REBECCA PLATT says:

    I just found this particular post. Your blog is one of my favorites because you seem very down to earth. I think you are the first decorating/lifetyle/diy blog I followed way back when. Didn’t you have a different title when you first started out?

    Anyway, the empty nest is hard. I cried for weeks after the last child was gone.

    I now have grandchildren. I hear from my adult children and my grandchildren all the time. I feel so incredibly blessed compared to some of my friends who’ve been put on the back burner,

    My husband and I take no credit for that. We prayed for our children and still do-every day. It’s more that God raised them with us.

    Thank you for all the hard work you do in making your blog so great.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Rebecca –

      Thank you for the nice comment. :-) Of the thousand-plus posts I have written, this post is one of my favorites. I think it will always be since it is about my daughters. I, like you feel blessed that my children are still close to us. I just wish we lived closer to them, especially now that we have a granddaughter.

      My blog has always been named, In My Own Style. When I first started, my blog design looked like a spiral notebook. I loved that design, but it did take up a lot room on the page, so after a few years I had to remove it so I could make my photos larger.

      Thanks for reading all these years.

  3. As I was reading, I thought someone had “copied/pasted” our life. LOL My “DIY” projects are now 26 and 27 and they’re doing great! I can’t believe how many people go through the same thing as we do… It’s comforting but not easier.
    Thank you for that beautiful post.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Chantal – It is funny that life in general is the same for all of us. We may take different paths, but when it comes to our children, they all grow up way too fast. XO

  4. Thanks for sharing! I love your blog, and the way you describe your children is beautiful. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed by kids and a home. A great reminder for me to enjoy my projects while they are littles!

  5. What a sweet, clever and witty post. I have 3 “projects” of my own that are in their late 20’s, but as I am learning, my work is never quite done! Really enjoyed “meeting” your girls.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Laura – Thanks.. It is my favorite post. Sounds like your best DIY projects are the same ages as mine … 26 and 29 now. I agree, our work as “mom” is always evolving. XO

  6. Linda Weeks says:

    Aw! Diane, the best post of them all! What a handsome family you have! Being a mother is the harDEST job I was ever given. Well let the girls know if they run out of money, call me.
    No, wait a minute. Let me think.

  7. What a lovely, unexpected twist to the DIY theme! These projects certainly take patience, care, & effort to succeed. You and dear hubby should certainly be proud, and so should these young ladies for all they’ve accomplished. This comes as a lighthearted, timely message for me as my youngest daughter heads to college next week. What a pleasant surprise to read your story – I certainly enjoyed. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Michele – Thanks for taking the time to connect with me. The post is my favorite as you know first hand why. :-) How exciting that your daughter is heading off to college this week. Enjoy every second cause the college years go by way too quickly, too. I can’t believe my youngest graduated 3 years ago from college. Have fun on move-in day. Bring a box of tissues for the ride home. XO

  8. jeannine nye says:

    this was such a lovely surprise and so right too… our best DIY projects are our children.. how clever to show and share it here like this… even more years have passed since you did, and I am sure that there is an update getting ready** I have five of my own, and all of them have proved to be great and a joy to know.. now they have children of their own, and another generation is off and running… thank you for sharing such delightful memories..

  9. What sweet memories of your babies. They do grow up so fast. I’m watching my grandchildren grow up even faster. And they sure are GRAND! I have lots of pictures to keep those memories alive.

  10. very very sweet….DIY projects..yes, indeed children are certainly that!!

    thank you for the trip down your memory lane, lovely family.

    1. Thanks LizyKat- It has been over 2 years since I wrote that – WOW how time flies. My oldest is now home from her 2 years Peace Corps service and my youngest just graduated from college.

  11. Virginia Decker says:

    This is one of the most heartfelt, touching posts I have ever read. I am crying like crazy right now. What a beautiful way to reflect on your lovely daughters and the women they have become. My oldest child is 2 and a half, and every day I look at him I can see the future in his gorgeous blue eyes. Our youngest child, Leila, is now our Angel in Heaven, and we won’t get to see how that project turns out: though I imagine she is simply stunning. It breaks my heart that I won’t get to see all of the milestones for her that you have captured for your girls, but also makes me look forward to the future for our precious son. Thank you for such a beautiful post.

  12. Michael at Blue Vevet Chair says:

    Sweetest DIY projects I’ve ever seen on a blog!

    1. Thanks Mike – they are my P & J, but all grown up now.

  13. Oh my goodness Diane, this was absolutely beautiful! You made me smile, laugh, and cry. It brought memories to mind of my older 2 DIY projects and the one still in the works. How blessed your family is to have you – your girls are lovely. Enjoy this time, as one day your DIY projects will present you with a few projects of their own and then it will be time for DIY the sequel :-)

    1. Diane @ InMyOwnStyle says:

      Hi Linda-
      Not quite ready for DIY, the Sequel, but know when the time comes – I will throughly enjoy it.

  14. I just found your site tonight, I enjoyed browsing through your projects and I truly didn’t expect this one! I’m very teary eyed!
    My daughter moves out of state to college in August, and I am so not ready for that… I don’t even think I can even go see Toy Story 3, cos Andy goes to college!!
    I do hope your daughters enjoyed this…what a lovely tribute to y’all.

    1. Hi Lesley –
      It is hard seeing them go off, but they are out living their lives and happy -which I am grateful for – that and their text messages. They both read and liked this post, although #2 called after she read it and all she had to say was – Mom! Did you have to put a picture of my teeth in there? I am looking forward to seeing Toy Story.
      Thanks for the comment and good luck in August – bring a box of tissues for the ride home after you leave her at her college. You will need them.

  15. Laura of Ms-Smartie-Pants says:

    Thank you so much for sharing that. I can relate to it totally. My third child just graduated from high school, on to another chapter in his life! We are sometimes overwhelmed when we are in the middle of our crazy lives when our children are young, but when it’s all over, it’s very quiet and bittersweet! I hope you enjoy this new season of your life!

  16. Michelle Lunt says:

    I agree! Those are 2 great DIY projects. What a cute perspective!

    Warmly, Michelle

  17. Hope @ It's a Vivas Thing! says:

    Ah…brought tears to my eyes! What a great tribute to your family.

  18. BEAUTIFUL post! Thanks for linking up and sharing!

  19. As I read this I sit and cry. My oldest is 11 and my baby is 10 months. And I already fear the days they are gone from our home.
    I have never thought as them as DIY Projects…but you are so right.
    You seemed to do an amazing job! And now you can sit and enjoy the fruits of your labor. To see what great adults they have become because of you and your husband.
    I wish you joy and happiness in your new adventure.

    1. Thank you Amy for the nice comment. We are all so blessed with our children. You have many years of joy ahead with your 2.
      Enjoy them and give them an extra kiss and hug tonight, just because your can.

  20. The Gaertegang says:

    I am mommy to 4 kiddos myself….9,7,5,3 year olds. That season seems like such a lifetime away for me. Although I already have a hard time believing that my children are already as big as they are. Thanks for sharing because I know it WILL go that fast!

  21. I just came upon your blog and want to say THANK YOU for sharing! As a mother of a 2 and 5 year old, sometimes it is so easy to get caught up in the hussle and bussle of everyday life that you forget this is all going to change one day. Thank you! Your girls are beautiful and it looks like you have many reasons to be proud! Congrats to you and your husband on your two best DIY’s!

  22. What a sweet, loving post! I have four kids who have grown to be amazing adults and this weekend was a reunion for the graduation of my first granddaughter. Such sweet memories of all these kids as babies and growing up. Thanks for the reminder. Life is precious and time flies.

  23. This is such a sweet post!

    Visiting from HoH~

  24. Ahhh! Don’t make me cry first thing in the morning, especially when my boys are spending the week at Grandma’s! My youngest starts kindergarten in the fall so I’m looking at one of many transition points. Beautiful, both the post and the way your ‘projects’ turned out!

  25. Kim @ seven thirty three says:

    You brought tears to my eyes! Your girls are gorgeous and you have every right to be proud of them! Thanks for bringing some happiness into my day and for linking up with Sugar & Spice.

  26. Pam @ Sallygoodin says:

    OMGosh! This post was so beautiful… just made me cry. Parents – our job truly never ends until we draw our last breath…the job just changes.
    It looks like you and your hubby raised two wonderful people. Good Luck to your gals! (and enjoy the next stage – what an adventure!) Pam @ Sallygoodin

  27. What a sweet post. It reminds me to cherish every moment with my little one. He’s only 7 1/2 months old, but it’s past in the blink of an eye. I found you through Hookin’ Up w/ HOH. Enjoy your summer sans children!

  28. I love this post. It gave me warm fuzzies.

  29. Thank you for this post! You are right – it goes by much too fast.

  30. Lovely post. I can relate. My 24 year old only child got married this December. I love his wonderful bride, and she loves me, but it is very different not having anyone at home but me and the hubby. We are finding parts of it enjoyable and parts of it just weird. I don’t know how to grocery shop for 2! But these are blessed times as well–a time for reconnection with my beloved in this season. A reconnection that I trust will serve us well as we age.

    Loved your pictures. Beautiful girls. Beautiful parents.

  31. Sarah Devaney-O'Neil says:

    I smiled through the entire post. What a wonderful Mom and wife to write such a loving tribute to your husband and girls. Love the creative analogy to the D.I.Y. Very special. I’m going to tweet this too. I know many others would enjoy the read as well!

  32. Ahhh! I’m not ready for all those milestones…. but the satisfaction of seeing your girls thriving must be incredible!

    (PS – I got your emails… sorry, it’s been a zoo-y weekend. I’ll be in touch soon!)

  33. The Happy Homemaker says:

    Oh my goodness.This morning I was frying eggs and curling hair and hunting madly for “the BLUE shirt,mom” all at the same time.I have a 15 year old son and daughters, 14 and 11.This post was so touching and sweet.It reminded me not to be so exasperated, and to enjoy the precious time I have left while they’re all mine:)THANK YOU.
    I hope everything goes well for your girls, and that you and your husband enjoy adjusting to being “home alone”.

  34. Paige Price says:

    Thank you so much for reminding me to stop and enjoy my 2 DIY projects….they are 7 and 3, and can test my patience at times…..I’ll wake up in the morning with the intention of soaking up every minute with my kids!! Thanks for the inspiration! Love your blog!

  35. Hands-down the best 2 DIY projects you’ve ever done and will ever do!

  36. This post makes me cry. My oldest will turn 11 this summer. I am SO not ready for them to grow up! Already it has gone too fast.

    1. Hi Jami-

      Just enjoy every moment you can and take lots and lots of pictures.


  37. What a perfect tribute! I am so right with you! Although, I do have my 21 year old baby home for one last summer, the other two have launched….

  38. Yup ~ perfect! Now come on over and help me with my 9 year old pre-teen!

    1. Hi Blarney-

      Those teen years can be tough, very tough at times – but remember they don’t last forever, it is only a temporary situation. After going through it myself I now know that – If God didn’t make teenagers -we would never be able to let them go out into the world as they still would be our cute, precious little ones.

      I saw the quote below on a sign once – it made me laugh out loud.

      “Hire a teenager, while they still know everything”
      Keep at it – and try to enjoy even the tense moments they too are fleeting.

  39. it sure goes by in the blink of an eye doesn’t it?! I sent my 3rd “project” off on her own this past May. Starting all over again with my grandbaby, that’s been so much fun. Enjoy getting to know your hubby all over again too, it’s great!

  40. What a beautiful and poingant post. I was just thinking how big my little boy is heading to his first swim lesson tonight….isn’t it funny how we are in the same place, and not at all? Will say a prayer for you right now…for the safety and prosperity of your babies and for some quiet time and ( great sense of accomplishment) for you! Have a great evening! -shaunna :)

    1. Hi Shaunna-

      I hope the swim lesson went well. Did he jump right in or hold onto the sides of the pool. How precious. Did you get any pictures?

  41. I just cried.
    What a lovely post.
    Thank you for sharing.

  42. Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions says:

    It’s a bittersweet time, isn’t it? Mine are 23 and soon-to-be 20 {next week actually and he’s in Ireland/England right now!}. There are days I long for those days again and then there are days when I wonder why they are still living in my house! : ) The daughter’s back home with a fiancee and baby on the way, and my son has two more years of college {local university}, but I love having them near even if they do eat my Klondike bars!

    1. Hi Kathy-

      Having any kind of junk food in the house last anymore than a day or two is one of the biggest changes. I am shocked at how much my food bill has gone down. You don’t realize how much they eat.

  43. Toni passed this on to me today. Even though you live down the street, I haven’t seen the girls in awhile – just beautiful! With TJ graduating next week, then on to W&M in August, I’m not far behind you. Perhaps Jill would like to borrow one of those worn-once dresses! Congrats to you & Ed for your DIYs!

    1. Hi Tara –

      We gave away a few of the dresses, but there are still some hanging around in the guest room closet. Come shopping anytime.

  44. I had tears too. I am where you are as well, creating a new life after my two DIY’s are grown. (One is still at home while attending college, but getting closer to moving on) I am over the top at how well my two DIY’s turned out, but I think that as the nest empties there is a form of grief too. We all share these mixed emotions of relief, pride and sadness.You should be proud to have raised two such lovely daughters. Thank you for sharing this, Pam

  45. Diane-I have tears in my eyes at 6:30am. What a beautiful tribute to your family. Enjoy this new phase of your life….I’ll be coming to you for tips as that time will be here for us before we know it! Toni