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A Good Reason to Get Dirty: We Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity

Maryellen insulating in the attic.
Brian and Bill double team the ceiling drywall.

On December 4, 2012, several of us from Smith Village  teamed up with Habitat for Humanity to help remodel a duplex at 1212 – 1214 W. Poplar St. in York. None of us had much experience with remodeling, but we were willing to learn, and learn we did. The Habitat supervisor taught us on the fly, and by the end of the day we were putting in insulation, hanging drywall and painting like (semi) professionals. When we left, one family was a little closer to having a place they could call home.

Bill crawls out of the attic.

Bill and Maryellen pulled the short straw, and ended up crawling on their hands and knees in the hot and cramped eave space of the attic, putting in insulation…  As we’ve learned to expect from these two, they didn’t complain at all, just climbed right in and got to work. Later that day we found out why they were wearing masks… as  Maryellen walked across the back yard, the sun lit up a shower of insulation particles flying from her hair. It was dirty work, and not for the flexibility challenged, which left most of the rest of us out. (sorry guys!)

Colleen and I got the cushy job of painting. We took down both front doors and sanded them, then put two coats of primer on each, front and back. While they were drying we painted other odds and ends outside. Kent helped put a roof on the garage that was out back. He spent a good part of the day doing that, so I’m sure they won’t need to worry about leaks.  But there was no rest for the weary… when he finished up there, he started hanging drywall. One thing is for sure: there was no idle standing around. Brian seemed to be everywhere at once, cutting lumber, hanging drywall, making a nuisance of himself…  Steve and Mary worked on insulating the kitchen walls… better than the attic, but lots of measuring, cutting and going up and down the ladder.


Steve measures insulation for the attic.
Steve measures insulation for the attic.
Mary opens a package of insulation.


Dallas does drywall.

Our fearless leader, Dallas, kept us all well supervised, and rumor is he was helping somewhere, though we have no eyewitnesses to back this up. (just kidding, Dallas!) In reality, we all worked hard, and what a fabulous feeling it was when we dusted off to go home. We could see what a difference just 8 people and one day had done. Although the house won’t be done for the family to move in by Christmas as planned, hopefully mid January will see them warm and cozy in a place they can call home. I don’t think any of us are going to quit our day jobs just yet and go into construction, but we’re all a little handier than we were a week ago, and pretty darn proud of what we accomplished.

Colleen flips a door to paint the other side.
Kent works on the garage roof.
Me, scraping old paint.






















Habitat For Humanity helps provide simple, decent, affordable homes to families in need of shelter. They are a non profit group that relies on volunteers and donations to fund their building projects around the world. To volunteer or make a donation, contact them at

by Ellen Dougherty-Saylor

Eva Katherine

Eva Katherine is a young singer from Schuylkill County we were happy to have the opportunity to sponsor for Christmas Magic at Rocky Ridge County Park this past holiday season. Since performing in our area she has performed the National Anthem at Madison Square Garden for the Professional Bull Riders in front of a crowd of 20,000 people and on national television.  Her new band also had their first full show in New York City. Eva’s first single, entitled “You’re Not The Only One”, can be found on iTunes. Have a listen to this talented young girl.

Fun Fact About Office Chairs

One of the earliest iterations of the office chair was invented in the 1800s by naturalist Charles Darwin. Yes, the same chap who took the science world by storm with his claim that humankind evolved from primates is partially responsible for our modern day office chairs. Mr. Darwin added wheels (which would later become casters) to his personal lab chair so he could get to his specimens more quickly. Today we use those wheels mainly to roll ourselves over to the copy machine five feet away. And office chair racing. Charles would be proud.

Tips on Repairing Wood Finishes

Water Rings

water ringsWater ring stains on wood finishes can be easily removed by ironing them out.  Just place a thick piece of cloth over the water ring and press it with a warm iron.  Rub the warm iron over the cloth-covered water ring until it disappears.

If the water ring is extremely stubborn, rub it with lemon or orange oil.  Let the oil set on the water ring for several hours or overnight, and wipe off the excess oil.  The water ring should be much less apparent or it may be completely gone.

Another remedy for water rings on furniture is a mixture of white toothpaste and mayonnaise.  Just rub the water ring with an equal mixture of white toothpaste and mayo and wipe off any leftovers.  Rub the area with orange oil or lemon oil, and the water ring should be gone.

Wood finishes that have been damaged by milk-based products can be cleaned and repaired by rubbing it with a soft rag and ammonia or a little silver polish.  Just cover your index finger with a rag and dip it in either straight ammonia or a dab of silver polish.  Rub the area to remove the stain and follow up by polishing with lemon oil or orange oil.


Wood dent fillers work well to repair small dents, but they rarely match the color of wood furniture.  Before using wood filler, try a trick using your iron.  Begin by removing the finish on the dent using the appropriate wood stripper and a cotton swab.  Be careful not to get solvent anywhere else on the furniture.  Place a clean damp rag over the dent, and lightly press the tip of the iron over the dented area for several seconds.  Dry the wood surface with a clean cloth.  Lightly sand the dented area, and refinish it to match the wood stain and varnish.


Very light or minor scratches in the varnish sometimes disappear when rubbed with furniture polish or oil.  Almond oil sticks are also wonderful for repairing light scratches.  They often just disappear.  Deeper scratches that have removed the stain are also sometimes successfully covered using furniture repair sticks or even iodine.  If these methods of scratch repair are unsuccessful, try a couple of methods often used by professionals.

Light scratches or abrasions in the varnish of wood can often be blended in using a drop of lacquer thinner mixed with denatured alcohol.  Before trying this method, test a hidden area on the furniture to see how the solvent affects the varnish.  You only want to soften it, not remove it.  If the test gives satisfactory results, proceed with repairing the scratches or abrasions.  Use a very small, soft fine-tipped paintbrush to carefully apply the solvent and blend in the varnish that surrounds the damaged area.  Move the brush diagonally to achieve the best results.  After the area is smooth, allow it to dry, and apply a coating of lemon or orange oil.

When scratches are deep and can’t be repaired with simple repair methods, use a solvent following the same method above, and make sure the type of solvent you use will not completely remove the finish.  Heat the blade of a pallet knife or another thin flat-edged metal tool.  Place the end of a matching wood fill stick or varnish stick against the hot blade.  As it melts, spread the wood filler into the scratch and level the surface.

Smith Village Teams With York’s Helping Hands For the Homeless

Smith Village is teaming up with York’s Helping Hands for theHomeless. For every new Facebook member that joins our Facebook Page between now and January 31st, Smith Village will make a $1 donation to York’s Helping Hands for the Homeless. Please share this message with your Facebook friends and family.

For many of us, this can be a very busy time of year.  There’s shopping to do, homes to prepare for the arrival of family and friends, holiday parties at work, the seemingly never ending traffic to deal with, and everything else that goes along with the holiday season.It is also a time to remember that not everyone is as fortunate as many of us. These activities that seem to consume our days right now, are a distant concern for many people right here in our own community.

In the hopes of brightening the Holiday Season and New Year for a few people, Smith Village is teaming with York’s Helping Hands for the Homeless.  We will be running a fundraising campaign, and you can help.  Between now and the end of January, for every new Facebook member that joins our Facebook Fanpage, Smith Village will make a $1 donation to York’s Helping Hands for the Homeless.

All we ask is that you visit our Facebook Page, join, and then be sure to tell your Facebook friends and family about our campaign.

Is It Time to Retire Your Old Mattress?

Most of our lives are hectic and full of stress, and bedtime is one of the few times we’re actually relatively still for a few hours. But have you really examined the quality of the sleep you’re getting? If you wake up tired, stiff, or with a sore back and neck in the morning, maybe it’s time to invest in a new mattress.

Many Americans spend the night tossing and turning, waking up with each movement of a partner, or fighting deep depressions in the mattress that develop over time. A good mattress should allow you to turn easily, redistribute your weight, and reduce pressure points to give you a great night’s sleep.

Here are a few signs that you may need a new mattress and boxspring:

  • You wake up tired or with stiffness, numbness, aches or pains
  • You toss and turn during the night or feel like you’re waking up several times a night.
  • You feel like you’re fighting or sinking into deep ruts or depressions in the mattress.
  • The mattress creaks or groans when you sit on it.
  • You had a better night’s sleep somewhere other than your own bed (such as a hotel)
  • Your mattress shows visible signs of overuse (it sags, has lumps, is stained, the interior is exposed, etc.)
  • Your mattress is 5-7 years old (How long a mattress will last depends on several factors, such as amount of use and original quality, but in general, a mattress set that has been in use 5-7 years is no longer providing you with the best comfort and support.
  • You are not sleeping well in general.

If you decide you’re ready for a new mattress, there are four main concerns to address when looking for a new one: comfort, support, durability and space. The Better Sleep Council offers these suggestions on how to judge each criteria to best suit your needs:

COMFORT. Gone are the days when a mattress had to be hard-as-a-board to be good for you. A too-hard mattress may only succeed in putting your shoulders and hips to sleep. You’ll sleep best when your bed helps you feel cradled in comfort, cozy and secure. Today’s top quality mattress/foundation ensembles are built for superior comfort. Luxurious new cushioning materials and extra-soft surface treatments create a plusher, more comfortable feel.

SUPPORT. Correct support is the essential ingredient for a healthy body. A good mattress and foundation will gently support your body at all points and keep your spine in the same shape as a person with good standing posture. Pay special attention to your shoulders, hips, and lower back—the heaviest parts. If there’s too little support, you can develop back pain. But if the mattress is too hard for you, you can experience uncomfortable pressure. A word about “firm” — don’t rely on product labels to tell you which mattress will give you the right support. One manufacturer’s “firm” may feel harder than another’s “extra firm.” The only way to find out if the support is right is to lie down and try it for yourself.

DURABILITY. It’s the quality of the materials used and how they’re put together that determine how long a mattress and foundation will provide the comfort and support you bought them for. The best assurance of good performance over a good many years is to buy the highest quality sleep set you can afford.

SPACE. Cramped quarters can turn sleeping into a nightly wrestling match. A healthy sleeper moves anywhere from 40-60 times a night, including some dozen full body turns. You need freedom of motion while you sleep and to help you relax while getting to sleep. If you sleep with a partner, be sure to select queen or king size. Both are not only wider, but several inches longer than the standard “double” (full size), which offers each sleeper only as much space as a baby in a crib.

Following these ideas will help you find a new mattress that will help you get better sleep and recharge you for what the next day may bring.  Be sure to stop by Smith Village, York, PA’s best mattress store.

Press Release

Smith Village Home Furnishings Donations

Support Educational Improvement Programs of

Six York County Non-Profit Organizations

Dallas Smith (center), President of Smith Village Home Furnishings, presents contributions, totaling $5,000, to representatives of six area non-profit organizations in support of their organizations’ educational improvement programs. Representatives from each of the benefitting non-profit organizations are pictured above (from left to right): Karla Heberlig, York County Libraries, Lori Ziegler, House of Hope, Tom Russell, Junior Achievement of South Central PA, Jason Lewis, Logos Academy, Ann Davis, DreamWrights Youth & Family Theatre, and Kevin Hofer, Christian School of York.

Holiday Decorating Do’s and Don’ts for Your Dining Room

With several holidays right around the corner, many of us enjoy sprucing up the house —including the oft-neglected formal dining room, since much of the holiday spirit is embodied in some kind of special feast!

Ideally, the holidays are supposed to be about celebrating and sharing special moments with your loved ones. But with the endless list of things to do, presents to buy, visitors to entertain or coordinating travel plans, the holiday season can sure pile on the stress as well. So whether you’re hosting a big family gathering or just decorating your dining room for two, here are some simple guidelines to help keep your holidays merry and bright.


  • DON’T wait until the last minute.
  • DO start early and have a plan.

Of course this needs to be first on the list, but who doesn’t wait until the last minute to do anything nowadays? However, it’s always a good idea to first take inventory of what you have and what still works from last year. Then make a list of what you need before you go to the store so that you don’t get overwhelmed or overspend.


  • DON’T just pile on holiday decorations with everything you already have on display.
  • DO put away some of your everyday items to keep the focus festive.

Change the everyday into the special — remove all regular pictures, knick-knacks, plants, and so on to make way for all your holiday pictures, treasures and decorations.


  • DON’T just scatter decorations everywhere.
  • DO take the time to create a memorable focal point in your room.

The most obvious place for the focal point of your room is the dining room table. The one mistake a lot of people make is to overdo the centerpiece — too tall and it will hinder conversation and separate your dining guests unnaturally. A low centerpiece will accent your table without getting in the way.

Start with a nice, wrinkle-free tablecloth as your foundation. Depending on your color scheme, you may want to keep it simple with white, or you may try a more colorful or patterned fabric. Just remember that you want your tablecloth to draw attention to your centerpiece, not compete for attention, so it’s best to keep it simple. If your china is not color-neutral, you should keep that in mind when crafting your centerpiece. Colors don’t have to match, but they at least should be complementary.

For a traditional look, you might use a large wreath as your centerpiece, decorated with bells, bows or special ornaments.

For a natural look, try hanging simple wreaths at the doors and windows, and evergreen clippings draped from the chandelier. Fresh flowers and lit candles can create a soft and intimate table centerpiece to bring together the earthy tone of the room.

Even an eclectic blend of not-so-formal furniture can look formal when dressed with an elegant table runner in gold and cream. Add two pillar candles in oversize vases with a few sprigs of greenery at its base, and augment the table settings with delicately decorated napkins for a romantic feel.

Another nice touch would be to add decorative chargers to your table setting. If you are using gold or silver as an accent color, you can match your chargers to give a little more formal feel to the place settings.

You can even dress up the dining room chairs by tying a wide ribbon around the backs of the seats.


  • DON’T think everything has to be red or green.
  • DO be careful about changing the entire color scheme.

Yes, there are plenty of new and untraditional colors used in holiday decorations, from oranges, pinks and purples to simple black and white schemes. It’s fun to switch it up and try something fresh, but as color trends change, you may end up spending a lot of money on a style that you’ll be tired of by next year. If you’re looking to jazz up what you’ve already got, think of adding metallics and glass to the mix — lots of gold or silver accents will make your other colors shimmer, and the light reflecting off the metallic colors and glass will add lots of sparkle.

An elegant approach is to go with a monochromatic color scheme such as winter white, New Year’s silver, gold, Christmas red or evergreen can give your dining table a unique, classy look. For something a little different, you could try using colors such as mustard yellow paired with white to create a star theme, or use silver, light blue and white to create a snowflake/icicle theme.


  • DON’T spend a bundle to create a cozy, holiday atmosphere.
  • DO get creative and use items you already have around the house.

Gather all of your candles into one vignette and place them together on your sideboard or serving hutch. Get out all your children’s Christmas books, your Christmas craft books or holiday magazines and display them in short stacks on the shelves. Wrap some empty boxes with leftover wrapping paper to use as decorations, along with some special ornaments — perfect for adorning the smaller pieces in the room.

Lights are sure to give any room a special feel; try working some holiday LED or rope lights on the buffet or hang elegant crystal icicles from your chandelier. A mirror over your buffet will help reflect light and color into your dining room and open it up, giving the illusion of a more spacious room.


  • DON’T get so caught up in decorating that you forget to enjoy the holidays.
  • DO take time to sit back and relax.

It’s easy to let holiday activities overwhelm you during this busy season, but don’t forget the best and most important part of the holidays — getting to see the people you love, having a great time together and counting your blessings!