Lancaster Designers Gather for Good

On Saturday, for the third year in a row, the ever-awesome Go Design Unit rallied a bunch of graphic designers, stuck them in their office with web developer Adam Chlan and copy writers Chet Williamson and me, and put us to work making cutting-edge marketing materials for deserving nonprofits.

Working on the North Museum ad campaign with Donna, Kristin, and Megan
Working on the North Museum ad campaign with Donna, Kristin, and Megan

Though I’ve only participated twice now, the annual Design-O-Rama-Thon has become one of my favorite Lancaster institutions. Last year Chet and I wrote brochure text and donor letters for House of His Creation in Gap. Other nonprofits that benefited were the American Cancer Society, HOPE Global Investment Fund, The Janus School, the Susquehanna Foundation for the Blind, and Team PA Foundation.

This year, I worked with Lancaster freelance designer Donna Lindsey, Harrisburg graphic designer Kristin Sabadish, and Moxie House’s Megan Caruso on print advertisements and posters for the North Museum’s spring Science and Engineering Fair. The research, made possible by Russell Frost’s photographs at the most recent fair, was fun and full of surprises.

Other organizations that got great marketing work at no cost this year included Clare House, the Threshold Foundation, Junior Achievement of Central PA, Lancaster Young Professionals, and American Home Life International.

I’d like to add my thanks to Kitchen Kettle Village, Isaac’s, Lancaster Brewing Company, and Samantha Seifried for keeping me and the rest of the DORTers fed and refreshed!

4 Ways to Gear Up for Christmas

With Thanksgiving come and gone, it’s now legal and appropriate to shift into the Christmas season. I’m pretty nuts about the holiday, and part of the reason is all the great celebratory art. Put this stuff on you computer and get in the yuletide spirit.

1. Download Deep Tracks of Christmas Music

You need these tracks. The links point to iTunes. For links pointing to Amazon, check out my fuller list of Christmas music from last year.

  • Sugar Rum Cherry (Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy), Duke Ellington – Sensual, imaginative, and classy. Hands down the best Christmas jazz track I’ve ever found.
  • Word>>>Flesh, feat. Katie Becker
    Word>>>Flesh, feat. Katie Becker

    Shepherd’s Song, Katie Becker – Born right here in Lancaster County. This list is showing my predisposition toward “beautiful and haunting.”

  • Old Waits Carol, Kate & Anne McGarrigle – Dark and haunting, not your typical Christmas jingle. Harkens back to a time when winter was much more deadly, and Christmas was an occasion to take heart, despite the fact that “today you may be alive and well… tomorrow dead and cold as clay.”
  • Figlio Dello Ande, Al Bano Carrisi – Italian, vocals with guitar, flute, and drums. One of the joys of Christmas is experiencing the traditions of other cultures. This is one of the more beautiful foreign-language songs in my Christmas collection.
  • Carol of the Beasts, Pete Seeger – Banjo and Seeger’s voice. A wonderful traditional folk song that may have been tragically lost if not for Seeger’s preservation efforts.
  • All the King’s Horns, Sufjan Stevens – Banjo and Sufjan’s voice (and some other voices and instruments, too). Sufjan’s five-EP Christmas collection has become a treasure to me. As with Seeger’s album, it’s barn music.
  • Undrentide, Mediæval Baebes – Along with the joy of experiencing Christmas with other cultures is experiencing Christmas with other points in history. There are many great Christmas songs from the Middle Ages. This is among my favorites. (Another great artists in this vein is Andrew Parrott.)
  • All My Heart This Night Rejoices, J.G. Ebeling  If you enjoy traditional church hymns, this is an overlooked one that merits revisiting. This version is from the Cambridge Singers.

2. Spice Up Your Christmas Letter with Holiday Fonts

From the classy to the obnoxious, there are excellent (and free!) Christmas typefaces on, including dingbats, like this one from ChristmasTime:

Merry Christmas dingbat

3. Watch Classic Scenes from TV Specials

I’m thinking specifically of the final 30 seconds of Christmas Eve on Sesame Street:

Or, for that matter, the cinematic comedic genius of the segment from 7:15 to 8:35 of the same special:

And then there’s Quasimodo conducting The Carol of the Bells:

A Garfield Minus Garfield version of Garfield’s Christmas Special:

4. Decorate Your Desktop

  • Holiday Lights – Here’s how you do it so it looks tacky but tolerable: Put holly in the top two corners, nothing along the bottom, and mini bulbs plus 32-pixel spacers along the sides and top. Then set the flashing to “random” and turn off the screen saver.
  • Christmas Wallpaper
  • Sign up to receive e-mails from The Church of England’s Advent Calendar. Their intro video encourages us to purchase fair-trade gifts this year.

Punk musican Ian MacKaye in town Nov. 20

Ian MacKaye will speak at F&M on November 20, announced that “legendary musician” Ian MacKaye will speak at Franklin & Marshall College the evening of Friday, November 20.

The event is being hosted by the college’s student radio station, WFNM. MacKaye was the frontman of influential punk bands The Fugazi, Minor Threat, and The Evens. He is also something of a figurehead for the so-called Straight Edge movement within the punk subculture.

The event will be in the 500-seat Barshinger Center for Music. The suggested donation is $5.

The Building that will be the Turkey Hill Experience

Ben Leech helps us see the Ashley & Bailey Silk Mill in Columbia like we’ve never seen it before in the latest post on the Lancaster Building Conservancy blog.

The Ashley & Bailey Silk Mill in Columbia, PA is now on its way to becoming the Turkey Hill Experience
The Ashley & Bailey Silk Mill in Columbia, PA is now on its way to becoming the Turkey Hill Experience

If you haven’t been following the blog or become a fan of the Conservancy on Facebook, I can’t commend it to you highly enough. The drawings and photos are art, and the accompanying building histories are poetic and scholarly.

The shell of the building is being turned into The Turkey Hill Experience. LeFevre Funk is the architectural firm on the project, which is particularly interesting because the notably clean, almost sterile style of the buildings in their portfolio is such a dramatic turn from the jumbled mess that the building has been for nearly its entire existence.

The Turkey Hill Experience, artist rendering
The Turkey Hill Experience, artist rendering

If you’d like to see even more, Jerry King Musser also has photos of the demolition/renovation process in his Flickr photostream.


Tourist photos of the countryside

Enjoy photos of Lancaster’s downtown in Archive Lancaster on

Back-country road in Lancaster County. Photo by Kelsey Freeman.
Back-country road in Lancaster County. Photo by Kelsey Freeman.

Some nice photos of the Strasburg/Bird-in-Hand/Paradise area this morning from self-labeled “nomadic photographer” Kelsey Freeman, a 25-year-old from the Washington, D.C. area. Kelsey says she’s a contemplative Quaker who was recently living in South Korea.

You can also check out Kelsey’s full photostream on Flickr.

Kelsey Freeman