Home & Garden

Toys can be turned into ornaments

From tractors and trains to cats and knights, my son’s evolving obsessions all find a place on our Christmas tree.


Photo-transfer projects make personalized handmade gifts

Busy lives may require sacrifices, but forgoing handmade gifts for the holidays doesn’t have to be one of them. We only need to plan well to have our crafts and give them away too.


Not crafty? Monthly gift boxes have you covered

Christmas is less than a week away, and once again you find yourself exercising your brain to the max to think of perfect gifts for the ones you love. What do they want? What won’t break the bank? If they’re in from out of town how do they get it home?

Saving Santa: Volunteers repair decoration on display in McHenry for 52 years

McHENRY – “The Santa House” has looked a little empty this year.


'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' turns 50

Just like the song, he's gone down in history. But that's not why the reindeer with his nose so bright was created.


Historian shares story of beloved TV special

UNION – Rick Goldschmidt isn’t one for mincing words. He became the historian and archivist for Rankin/Bass Productions Inc. out of appreciation for the integrity and skill the New York production company exemplified when creating iconic holiday specials such as “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Frosty The Snowman,” “Little Drummer Boy” and “The Year Without a Santa Claus.”


Novice crafter? There’s a project for that

NEW YORK – Inspired by that colorful homemade gingerbread on Instagram or the hand-painted coasters on Pinterest, but worried about your skills?


Post office pays homage to famous reindeer

RUDOLPH, Wis. – Thousands of Christmas cards are pouring into a small Wisconsin village that shares its name with the most famous reindeer.


Tiny critics stoke new sales for toy makers

NEW YORK – A snaggletooth 8-year-old. A middle schooler with a punk rocker bob cut and big earrings. Tween siblings with a penchant for playing.


Social media changes holiday card landscape

For many people, the rules for posting personal news on Facebook, Pinterest and other social media are clear: Put a Good Face on Everything.


Woodstock Wedding Network to provide free wedding for winners of giveaway

WOODSTOCK – Children may dream about their wedding day – the dress, the flowers, the ring – a fairytale event. Then as life twists and turns, those wishes can seem more unobtainable.


Designers offer tips for trees

For generations, the choice was simple:


Cut your own tree at McHenry County Christmas tree farms

The following is a listing of Christmas tree farms in McHenry County.


Get your home ready for holiday company

Company’s coming. It’s time to clean up your act.


Known for her greeting cards, Crystal Lake’s Mary Ann Johnson keeps expanding her brand

CRYSTAL LAKE – Wearing a holiday-red sweater, with a sash of her newly introduced snowman-print fabric wrapped around her neck, Mary Ann Johnson is ready to tackle her next possibility.


Author to discuss hobo influence on quilts

UNION – Quilt aficionados and rail fans will have an opportunity to satisfy both passions during a special “Hobo Quilts and Railroads” presentation at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 12, at the McHenry County Historical Society Museum, 6422 Main St., Union.


Cozy sweaters get second life in home decor (or just buy the style!)

Cozying up in a favorite sweater is one of the distinct pleasures of autumn.


Flexible mummies for Halloween decor

Count me among those who find the "Elf on the Shelf" just a bit creepy. That said, wouldn't it make more sense to have a slightly spooky creature keeping an eye on your kids around Halloween instead of Christmas?


Quoth the raven, ‘Happy Halloween’

Edgar Allan Poe and Halloween are enmeshed like cobwebs on a lamppost.


Last-minute DIY decorations

This Halloween, lighten things up with luminaries. There are lots of quick, do-it-yourself projects to make the flickering lights that welcome partiers or trick-or-treaters.


Algonquin home offers delights, frights

Te n years ago, Jim Haupert (right) of Algonquin put out a few tombstones at Halloween, a string of skeleton lights, when a neighbor joked that he was setting the bar pretty high.



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