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Articles filed under Home & Garden

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  • Additions that make your yard a winter hangout Oct 9, 2014 6:00 AM
    As fun as summer at the lake is, Sue Vanderwiel and family also make the most of their Apple River vacation home in the winter. That’s when “it is much quieter, and we can just hang out, play games and chill, literally and figuratively.” The family gathers around a big stone fire pit (15 feet in diameter) — often with s’mores, hot chocolate and peppermint schnapps for Mom and Dad — even when those Midwestern temperatures drop.

     
  • Concord: America’s foxy grape tastes good, too Oct 7, 2014 6:00 AM
    Go to your grocer’s shelf and take a deep whiff of the grapes there. Hardly a hint of aroma, unless the grapes happen to be Concord, a commercial variety that captures the essence of wild grapes. Concord is not the only grape variety that captures that unique aroma — known as “foxiness” — of wild grapes. But it is the most common one. With its tough skin that slips off to release a layer of sweetness, its jellied flesh and its foxy flavor, Concord is the archetypal American grape.

     
  • Changing a tween’s bedroom is likely to be a balancing act Oct 6, 2014 10:51 AM
    Decorating a baby’s room is all about what mom and dad want. But decorating a bedroom for a “tween-age” child is more complicated.

     
  • Cast homework in the right light Oct 6, 2014 5:45 AM
    If you can’t imagine how your kids can possibly see well enough to do their homework as they sprawl out on the floor, their beds or the couch; fear not: Though good lighting for the homework hour (or hours) is often forgotten, it is simple to achieve. “Sometimes we get so focused on making the room look cute, we can overlook the importance of the spaces having to function well,” says Chicago designer Ruthie Stebbins.

     
  • Client, designer dynamics influence makeover’s success Oct 6, 2014 6:01 AM
    Like any relationship, problems sometimes arise between clients and designers. Clients expect designers to work magic, but conditions sometimes prevent a less than ideal situation.

     
  • For a happy bedtime story, think cool, dark and quiet Oct 6, 2014 10:46 AM
    Q. I am a terrible sleeper, three, sometimes four hours a night. I checked about sleep apnea (negative) but the doctors suggest one problem might be my bedroom, that I should look into things like the mattress and pillows. Exactly what would I be looking for? They seem comfortable enough to me.

     
  • An electric fireplace may be a cheaper, greener alternative Oct 6, 2014 10:53 AM
    When a typical homeowner pictures a fireplace, they will usually imagine a wood-burning or natural gas-burning fireplace. However, there is a third option: an electronic fireplace.

     
  • Create a peaceful nook with right fabric, colors Oct 5, 2014 6:00 AM
    You can turn your home -- or at least parts of it -- into a retreat by using color as a great starting point. Water tones — blues, greens and turquoise — are often suggested. These lead to related neutrals like grays or any earthy tones.

     
  • Dig up dahlias before the frost darkens them Oct 5, 2014 1:01 AM
    Q. How can I save my Dahlia tubers for planting next year?

     
  • Decorating with pumpkins and gourds Oct 4, 2014 6:01 AM
    The first signs of autumn may be pansies and mums on garden center benches and football games on television, but I am unable to embrace the season until I can start decorating with pumpkins.

     
  • Bring tender plants indoors soon Oct 4, 2014 6:01 AM
    Nights are growing cold and it is time to prepare to bring tender plants such as tropical houseplants indoors. The average first frost at the Chicago Botanic Garden is Oct. 15, though it is typically later in Chicago.

     
  • Settlements reached in St. Charles roof collapse lawsuit Oct 1, 2014 2:37 PM
    At least $262,000 in settlements have been reached as eight of nine companies have been dismissed from a lawsuit over a February 2011 collapse at a St. Charles water feature design firm. No one was hurt in the collapse at Aquascapes, whose insurance carrier is seeking $13 million in damages. One client, a Wisconsin-based design firm, remains on the lawsuit.

     
  • How to prep a guest room for fall visitors Sep 29, 2014 6:00 AM
    Now is the perfect time to think about planning the perfect guest room retreat for this season’s holiday visitors. These ideas will help you go beyond the basic comforts and identify those extra touches that make guests feel at home.

     
  • Don’t waste a view; reflect it. Sep 29, 2014 6:00 AM
    Q. We built our new home to take advantage of the great water views … except in the kitchen where we — duh — designed things so that when the cook (that’s usually me) is working at the main counter, her back is turned to the scenery.

     
  • What every suburbanite can do to save birds Sep 29, 2014 6:01 AM
    The biggest single threat to birds remains the loss of the environments they need to flourish and reproduce, but habitats can be restored by protecting public land and adopting policies that encourage private conservation and ecologically sensitive farming.

     
  • Overwintering favorite plants indoors Sep 28, 2014 6:01 AM
    The end of the summer doesn’t have to mean certain winter death to some of these flowering friends. We can bring tropical plants and tender perennials indoors and grow them as houseplants until they can return outside next spring.

     
  • Small farm plots help refugees settle in Sep 27, 2014 1:27 PM
    Lutheran Services has helped refugees farm for several years, but sought grants after some families asked to expand their plots, program supervisor Hillary Burbank said. Eighteen have beginner gardens of about 50 feet by 50 feet to grow food primarily for their own use, and eight families have advanced to larger quarter-acre plots, the products of which are sold at a farmers market and to the Iowa Food Cooperative.

     
  • Black lights can enhance Halloween decor Sep 27, 2014 6:00 AM
    Creating a spooky atmosphere when decorating for Halloween is the ultimate goal. People will go to great lengths to establish film-worthy special effects and ghoulish details. Using black lights when decorating can cast an ominous glow and establish the desired atmosphere.

     
  • Right at home: Critter comforts for older pets Sep 26, 2014 6:00 AM
    Just as there are lots of products on the market to help ease the aches, pains and mobility issues of human old age, so there is a good selection of such products for senior dogs and cats, as well. Arthritis is one of the most common problems for dogs and cats as they age. “Give ’em a boost,” says Amy Shojai, a certified animal behavior consultant in Sherman, Texas

     
  • USDA says unapproved GMO wheat found in Montana Sep 26, 2014 2:41 PM
    No genetically engineered wheat has been approved for U.S. farming, and the discovery of unapproved varieties can pose a potential threat to U.S. trade with countries that have concerns about genetically modified foods.

     
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