Nooks & Crannies: Holiday Edition

Check out these unusual and inventive stores around our area.

The Half Full Nest Vintage Market

205 W. Main St., West Dundee, (224) 484-8460,

Located in a former church, this vintage market still feels like something spiritual and holy is within arm’s reach.

“We wanted to maintain the original character,” says owner Angy Ajroja. “We were thrilled to be able to restore it to its original beauty after working hard to renovate the exterior and interior of the building for five months.”

The store carries both vintage and new merchandise, from home decor and clothing to candles, lotions soaps and more. Goods such as live edge woodcrafts, handpainted art and jewelry are made by local artisans. Ajroja curates her selection of goods on the belief that your home should be a reflection of your personality, a place where you can find peace and comfort surrounded by specially selected objects that make you smile.

Building on their expertise in beautiful things, Arjoja and her crew also offer interior design, estate sales, consignment, personal styling and shopping, decorating and staging. Periodically, Ajroja hosts workshops involving Fusion Mineral Paint, a popular product for furniture restoration and DIY projects.

Ajroja’s love for design keeps her motivated and passionate about her work.

“I love the design aspect of it,” she adds. “I’ve been into vintage and design ever since I was a little kid, and I’ve always wanted to open a store.”

Hours: Thu.-Sun. 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Treetime Christmas Creations

22102 N. Pepper Road, Lake Barrington, (847) 527-8880,

A well-decorated tree is one of the most beloved Christmas symbols. At Treetime, designers are ready to help you turn your tree and home into something carol-worthy.

The store designs, manufactures and retails custom artificial trees as well as wreaths, garlands and other yuletide treasures.

These artificial trees can come pre-lit or hand-crafted in a variety of shapes. They vary in size, ranging from under 6 feet to a towering 20 feet or higher. They also come in different densities and have foliage types including traditional, realistic and white.

Treetime also carries ornaments, tree skirts and toppers, storage bags, dollies, lights, ribbons and everything else you’ll need to properly deck your halls.

Owner Laurie Kane and her designers offer hands-on demonstrations on social media, with how-to videos that teach how to select and decorate a Christmas tree just like an expert.

“We teach you how to look at trees and how to find the tree that you really like,” she says. “Our No. 1 goal is to educate you and help you find something you enjoy.”

Hours: Mon., Tues., Wed., Fri. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Thu. 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Cheshire Cakes

40 N. Williams St., Ste. 40L, Crystal Lake, (779) 220-4993,

Before she was even a teenager, Kellyann Kozel had a dream job in mind.

“I knew since I was 10 or 11 that I wanted to be in a bakery someday,” says the Crystal Lake native.
Kozel studied restaurant management at DePaul University and went on to the French Pastry School in downtown Chicago to study pastries and cake decorating. She worked at bakeries in Chicago throughout and after college until she decided to return home and open a bakery of her own.

Since June 2021, she’s been offering a variety of delicious delicacies from red velvet brownies and butterscotch bourbon blondies to Oreo cheesecakes and coconut macaroons, just to name a few. Kozel and her staff of two additionally make custom cakes and other goodies, with capabilities to go gluten-free or vegan if requested.

Today, Kozel is grateful for her team as well as the support she receives from the community and local businesses.

“I have an amazing staff, and I could not do it without them,” she says. “All the local businesses like to come in and support us, and we like to go to them. It’s a very nice tight-knit community that supports each other.”

Hours: Wed.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. to 3 p.m.