The best gift

GREENFIELD — A few years ago, when Dana VanOsdol’s two sons and husband were thinking of the perfect Mother’s Day gift, the three decided to go a traditional route. A few days later they proudly handed her a spa gift certificate, so she would have the opportunity to pamper herself.

While happy her family was thoughtful enough to remember her big day, it wasn’t the gift she was hoping for.

“I don’t like glitter and other girly things,” VanOsdol said. “I’m a power tool girl.”

The next year, the three men had learned their lesson and gifted her with something she really wanted — a miter saw.

“It was the best Mother’s Day gift ever,” she said.

VanOsdol is one Hancock County resident who likes to create with her hands and is often found working on several do-it-yourself projects around her home.

In her spare time she’s crafted more than just simple throw pillows or decorative wreaths, but farmhouse-inspired dining room tables and loft-style beds for her young sons.

The 35-year-old mother said she started woodworking around eight years ago and likes to work with salvaged items from garage sales, barn picks, and the side of the road.

Above the table she built for her family hangs a large piece of driftwood they found on vacation. It’s another testament to how VanOsdol will work with just about anything if she thinks it would make a statement.

Throughout her Greenfield home are pieces she’s built by hand, including industrial-looking light fixtures and rustic chalkboards to help her family keep track of daily activities.

She finds joy in transforming objects such as old wooden pallets into one-of-a-kind items.

“It’s fun to pull (a pallet) apart and turn it into something we could use every day.”

Husband Richard said he loves to watch his wife work on projects for the home, because he knows it’s something she enjoys.

Recently she built her sons Josh, 11, and Jake, 8, loft-style beds to create more space in their bedrooms. The two are often found playing underneath the structures, one of which looks like a castle, or climbing the ladders to their bed areas.

“I love it,” Jake said about his mother’s handiwork. “It makes my room look so cool. I also like it because I know who made it.”

VanOsdol said sometimes her sons help with the projects around the home, and it almost feels like she’s handing down knowledge, much like her father did with her.

“The first project I ever worked on was with my dad when I was 8 years old,” VanOsdol said. “I’ve been hooked since then.”

The mother of two has been a stay-at-home mom for six years. She said the extra time at home allows for her to tackle big projects, such as building a small mud room area in the living room to store the boys’ outdoor items.

She tries to work on at least one project every day, even though she might not finish it in one sitting, she said.

While VanOsdol has tried to sell a few of her smaller items at festivals, she plans to continue crafting for friends and family for now.

“It feels really good to be productive,” she said. “I love the creative process, sitting down with nothing but a plan on paper, and after some hard work there is something useful for my family.”