Posted by: designoriginals | May 20, 2011

Fox Chapel Publishing Acquires Design Originals

NEW Normal.

My NEW Normal started on May 10, 2011.  That is the day Suzanne McNeill signed the contract to sell Design Originals to Alan Giagnocavo at Fox Chapel Publishing.  I now work for Fox Chapel, have a new boss, work with a new team of employees, and work from my home office.  It is exciting, scary, exciting, stressful, and exciting, all at the same time!  Having the support of my wonderful wife and daughters, my relatives and friends, and hearing from my craft industry friends, has been the BEST!  So, my NEW Normal begins…..

I wanted to share with everyone a few photo’s of how fast the Design Originals warehouse of books left Texas for Pennsylvania.  Thanks to Julia & Connie from Design Originals, and Jason, Paul, & Zach, from Fox Chapel, for going above and beyond to pack up and move an entire warehouse in three days!  All of us had quite a workout during those three days, and I even got to drive the forklift again.

                                                         Design Originals Full Warehouse May 11th

                                                          Design Originals Empty Warehouse May 13th

                                                                 Fox Chapel Empty Warehouse May 14th

                                                                  Fox Chapel Full Warehouse May 17th

I must tell you how impressed I am with the Fox Chapel team.  They were able to start shipping Design Originals accounts from PA in less than a week from when the first truck left TX!  What a wonderful testament to Alan and his organization.  So I want to assure all my Design Originals accounts, we are all in good hands.

Till next time,

P.S.  I am off to the Book Expo in New York, then a visit to the Fox Chapel home office in PA, then to Bead & Button in Wisconsin.  I will have lots to tell you.

Posted by: designoriginals | May 4, 2011

Quilting – A Family Tradition

On the road again…

Debra and I just returned from a road trip to Southern Illinois over Easter weekend. And believe it or not, we are still married!  In the past we would drive the 12 hours to Illinois every year with our daughters and their dogs.  But the last few years, with airfare low, we would choose to fly into St. Louis, rent a car, and then drive the 2 hours to Randolph County. (both mine and Debra’s families live in Randolph County Illinois).  With this trip, the airfare was really high, and even though gas prices are over the top, we decided to drive.  Just Debra and I.  No kids and no dogs.  How did it go? Great!  I think Debra has learned over the years to sort of “tune” me out.

There were many reasons for this trip.  My mother, who recently broke her hip and spent 6 weeks in the hospital, turned 87 on Easter Saturday.  Debra’s Grandfather Fulton, who will be 92, was recently diagnosed with a serious illness, but is doing well.  My mother is doing pretty good,  still very weak, but is really getting around the house with her walker.  The weather was awful!  It rained everyday, with constant Tornado warnings for the area.  In fact, a major Tornado tore thru the St. Louis airport. (so I guess it was best we drove).  My mother and I talked, told stories, cried together, watched the St. Louis Cardinals on TV, and just visited for 4 days.  It was wonderful!

A few years back, my mother was diagnosed with Macular Degeneration of the eyes. Her eyesight gradually worsened and she had to give up doing what she loved to do, QUILTING. As far back as I can remember, my mother Anita, my aunt Lucille, my grandmother Block, and my great grandmother Sickmeyer, were all quilters. Going to my grandmothers home was always fun, because if she had a quilt in the wooden frame in the living room, that meant my cousins and I had a cool place to play under.  My mothers family, originally from Germany, have been hand quilting for generations. One of the traditions in our family was that every grandchild, boy or girl, would receive a quilt from their grandmother when they graduated from high school. What a treasured gift that quilt is for me today. My mother was so happy that she was able to finish both my girls quilts, before her eyesight forced her to lay down her needle and thread.

                                                                    The quilt Mom made for Jaylen.

                                                                      The quilt Mom made for Jourdain.

Quilting has been around for generations, and will continue to be around for generations.  Design Originals will be attending the Utah Spring Quilt Show in May.  This wonderful trade show features everything you will need to know about quilting.  The Design Originals booth will be featuring our new books and patterns.
Quilting is my family’s tradition, what is yours? No matter what it is, traditions are for families to pass down from generation to generation.
Until next time,

Posted by: designoriginals | April 7, 2011

Texas Bluebonnets

Hello Everyone,
The Texas Bluebonnets are in full bloom, so it must be April!  Driving in Texas at this time of year is just breathtaking.  Lady Bird Johnson started the program to beautify the Texas roadways with wildflowers.  I have to say, it is a sight to see.  One of the first things my creative wife Debra did when we moved to Texas, was have a family portrait taken in the BluebonnetsIt is definitely a Texan thing.  If you see a car parked along the side of the road, most likely there will be a family sitting in the Bluebonnets having their photo taken.  As you can see, our family photo was taken quite a few years ago, considering Jaylen just turned 24, and Jourdain will be 22 in July.  But I so love this photo!

Speaking of beautiful color, next week Design Originals will be traveling to Phoenix Arizona to attend NAMTA (National Art Materials Trade Association).  This is a trade show attended by Art Materials Stores from all over the world.  Design Originals selection of Art titles continue to grow.  Titles like Transfers & Altered Images, Mixed Media with Color, Altered Surfaces, and now all of our very popular Zentangle® titles will be featured.  The great thing about all these titles, is the fact they also sell well in the Craft & Hobby Industry.  In fact, the theme of this years CHA Chicago show is, “CraftFusion, The selling Power of Mixed Media!” By combining a variety of materials in non-traditional ways, mixed media provides craft and hobby enthusiasts with exciting new creative possibilities and new opportunities for stores to sell product featured in Design Originals books.

Speaking of NEW books.  I am so excited to announce that Tila Beads #5373 has arrived in our warehouse.  Tila Beads features the new exclusive two hole tile shape bead from Japan’s Delica Bead manufacturer Miyuki, IncAlice Korach edited the beautiful designs.  It is a must have!

Just FYI.  I have been in contact with Kenji from Miyuki and Iwao of Toho, since the terrible earthquake in Japan.  Both companies have offices in Tokyo and Hiroshima.  Everyone was fine, but being very cautious.  I look forward to seeing my friends from Japan at the upcoming Bead & Button Show in Wisconsin in June.

Then also to arrive is Sandy Steen Bartholomew’s 4-inch pocket size Alpha Tangle book #3460.  This small in size book is packed with tangles.  Alpha Tangle makes a nice addition to any letter-lover’s library.

Remember Easter is April 24th.  So pay close attention while driving to avoid hitting any cute four legged furry animal carrying candy.  Possum’s excluded.

Till next time,

Posted by: designoriginals | March 9, 2011

Social Media …. here I come!

Hello Everyone,
Hold onto your hats, because I now have a Facebook Page. (Please “Friend Me”; I want to top Suzanne’s numbers). You know, I held off for as long as I could, but work and technology said otherwise.  With so many of the Craft Industry professionals using Facebook, and Twitter, (not doing), Cindy Shepard, Design Originals Media Director, convinced me it was time.  It was only a few months back when Cindy convinced me to write the Design Originals blog.  She said I was funny, and people would enjoy my blogs.  Well, I have been pleasantly surprised by the words of encouragement from my fellow bloggers and faithful readers.  As my daughter Jourdain said after finding out I now have a Facebook page, “what’s next, an IPhone?” No IPhone for me!  I like my basic, no bells or whistles phone, because when you run over your boring phone while driving a forklift, it doesn’t hurt the pocketbook as bad.

Things are still quite busy here at Design Originals.  I am up to my ears with paperwork for all the upcoming trade shows Design Originals will be attending.  Starting with Phoenix NAMTA, Utah Spring Quilt Show, Wisconsin Bead & Button, Chicago CHA, Ft. Worth Quilt Show, Houston Fall Quilt Show, Art of the Carolinas, and Galveston TAEA.  Since Design Originals publishes books in all categories of the Craft, Hobby, and Art Industry, we attend many shows.  Over the years relationships have been built with our customers, and it is always good to see everyone.

Our phones have been really busy lately, and sometimes to help our customer service department, I will pick up a line and talk with the person calling in.  It is the luck of the draw as to whether it is a consumer, a store, or a distributor, and it doesn’t matter, because I really love talking to people.  Consumers seem to be the most excited.  Usually they have just discovered Zentangle, Pulp Fiction, 10 Minute Blocks, or Tila Beads, and they can’t find the books anywhere.  So we help them locate a store.  Now, Store employees are also very excited when they call in, because if they are calling in for a re-order, that means they SOLD OUT of a title.  YAY!  Then when a distributor calls in because they have SOLD OUT, I get very excited.  Because it means the system is working.  Consumers buy books from Stores, Stores buy books from Distributors, and Distributors buys books from Design Originals.  Consumers are looking for good inspirational instruction books, so do not be caught with an empty slot.

Now a friendly reminder.  This coming Sunday, March 13, Daylight Savings Time begins.  So remember to “SPRING” ahead and set your clocks forward ONE hour on Saturday night. We have about 22 clocks in our home, not counting the appliances, so I usually start about noon on Saturday.  (This really messes with Debra when she comes home from work.)  Debra has said I am a little (lot) obsessed with clocks.  Maybe so, but no matter where I am in our home, I can look and see what time it is.  I don’t call that being obsessive at all.  What do you think?

Till next time,


Posted by: designoriginals | February 10, 2011

CHA Los Angeles

Hello Everyone,
I am sitting here at Design Originals on Wednesday February 9th, 2011 in Fort Worth Texas, with snow on the roads once again and the outside temperature being 12 degrees, with a wind chill of minus 2!  Are you kidding me?  If I wanted to experience weather like this, I would move back to Illinois.  Of course my mother would love that, but I would be by myself, because Debra and my girls would most definitely stay in Texas.  Just so you know, the temperature by Friday will be in the 60’s.  Ahh…much better.

You know, this is the second week in a row for weather like this.  As many of you know, getting out of Los Angeles last week after the CHA show was a nightmare.  Poor Suzanne and Cindy, they wanted to beat the storm, so they took a “Red Eye” flight out of LAX on Monday night.  Little did they know they would actually land in San Antonio, and wait almost 12 hours for a flight to Dallas/Fort Worth.

Anyway, let’s talk about CHA Los Angeles.  Great show for Design Originals!  Notice my excitement in the photo that the booth is ready to go.  Between our new Zentangle® titles, and Mark Montano’s PULP FICTION title, the booth was kept really busy.

Lets start by talking about Zentangle®.  Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas, the developers of Zentangle® gave mini classes in the Sakura booth.  As you know, the Sakura Micron Pigma Pen is the preferred pen, so stock up.  Between the Sakura and the Design Originals booths both doing Zentangle® demo’s, the talk on the show floor was all about Zentangle®.  I do not want to sound like a broken record.  But, if you have not yet ordered the Zentangle® titles, time is upon you.

Now let’s talk about Mark Montano and his great new title, PULP FICTION – Perfect Paper Projects. As you can see from the photo, having Mark in our booth doing a really cool make ‘n take, was very exciting.  Mark makes you feel so welcome, and encourages everyone to create, like only Mark can.  We had women and men together crafting with Mark.  People walked away with a beautiful 3-D Greeting Card Box.  Mark is one of the best promoters I know, so stock up now, because you will have people asking for PULP FICTION – Perfect Paper Projects.

Due to the terrible weather in Fort Worth last week, the truck with all the new books finally arrived on Monday, the 7th of February.  If you are on my list to receive samples, the new books were mailed out on Tuesday, so be on the look out.  If you do not receive samples of the new books, and would like to, please let me know.

Hard to believe this coming Monday is Valentine’s Day. I will celebrate with the loves of my life, Debra, Jaylen, and Jourdain.  So be sure to tell that special someone in your life just what they mean to you.  Whether it is a husband, wife, life partner, mother, father, child, grandchild, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, friend, neighbor, work associate, boss, or pet, make sure you tell them.

Till next time.

Posted by: designoriginals | January 6, 2011

Happy New Year Everyone!

The holidays are over and the year 2011 has just begun.  Boy, 2010 seems to have just flown by.  As I look back on 2010, I remember how wonderful and supportive my wife and daughters were.  Debra is my rock and my daughters keep me young/broke!  Debra reminds me so often to slow down and enjoy life as it is happening.  Because before you know it, your daughters are 23 and 21.

Dean, Jourdain, Jaylen and Debra.

I am sure the economy has played havoc on everyone, so I can relate to so many.  But I am truly hoping 2011 will be much better for all of us.  Life is short, so let’s all remember to slow down just a little, enjoy our families, and continue to count our true blessings.  Remember, we work in the Craft and Hobby Industry.  How great is that!

Inventory is over!  I know everyone probably deals with inventory, but counting a warehouse of books is not for the faint of heart.  A BIG “shout out” to Francis, Connie, and Julia.  According to everyone at Design Originals, it seems I get a little frazzled during the last couple weeks of the year, even though I don’t see it.  Anyway, the count went well and according to our CPA after he doubled checked the figures, the count was perfect!  What could be better that that?

Oh my goodness, CHA is like three weeks away!  It is now officially crunch time.  Everyone at Design Originals knows for the next few weeks it is going to be a little “crazy”.  My co-workers will be so glad when the booth ships and even more excited when mine and Suzanne’s flight takes off for Los Angeles.  Of course there will be daily phone calls from CHA.  Either something will be missing for the booth, or a box has not arrived, which of course neither of these things will have been my fault.  Anyway, everyone at Design Originals takes all this in stride and continues to help and support the Design Originals team that attends CHA.

Speaking of CHA.  I am really excited about our NEW books!  Mark Montano’s, PULP FICTION, is so great.  Mark will be in our booth Saturday and Sunday demoing, so make a point of stopping by our booth #2222.  We will also be featuring new Zentangle® titles.  One using Clay, one using Color, one using Yoga, and one using Fabric.  Hopefully you are not tired of me promoting Zentangle®, so let me share something with you.  Are you familiar with the Disney FamilyFun magazine which has 2.2 million subscribers, and an audience of over 5 million?  Well, the April issue of Disney FamilyFun magazine will feature Zentangle® in their “Favorite Things” section.  Now that is cool!

Success stories, I just love success stories.  Remember I talked about the Design Originals YouTube videos in my last blog.  I recently received a call from a quilt store in Florida.  It seems a few of their customers had watched the YouTube video featuring our book, ’10-Minute Blocks’, and wanted this store to order the book, which they did. In turn, the store then started featuring our YouTube videos in the store, which has now increased sales of other Design Originals books.  So it is true, Inspiration Drives Sales!!
Till Next Time.

Posted by: designoriginals | December 6, 2010

Happy HoliDAZE!!

Hello Everyone,
December is now here! Hopefully everyone enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends, or if you just really enjoy being by yourself, that is great too.

One daughter went to her boyfriend’s grandparents, one daughter, who has yet to introduce us to her current boyfriend, decided to go with Debra and I to a friend’s house.  Now when you are invited to a friend’s house and they have decided to grill out lamb for Thanksgiving, you just go with the flow and be polite, right?  Well, my very adventurous wife Debra, who keeps telling me to open my mind for new experiences, said it would be fine, but lamb?  You know what, the lamb was just wonderful, and of course my wife was right again, even though I did take a package of hot dogs along just in case.

Last month I mentioned Design Originals would be attending two trade shows, The NAEA show in Austin, Texas and the Art of the Carolinas show in North Carolina.
Well I am happy to report both shows went great!  In fact, our booths were so busy, that we could have used more people.  LOVE THAT!!  The teachers at the NAEA show basically bought every Zentangle® title we brought, and wanted more.  The consumers at the Art of Carolinas also bought all the Zentangle titles, along with our great art titles like Altered Surfaces, Mixed Media and Color, and Transfers & Altered Images.  Plus, Suzanne McNeill’s classes on Zentangle SOLD OUT! If you haven’t experienced Suzanne teaching Zentangle yet, please click on the video below and see for yourself.

Design Originals now has 32 YouTube videos include Quilting, General Crafts, and Beading. So, if you are not sure a specific title fits in your plan-o-gram, take a look at one of the videos, it is a quick way to experience the process and see all the products the book helps to sell.  You know, Inspiration Drives Sales! Also, sign up to receive Suzanne’s blog at

It seems like just yesterday I was working on the CHA Chicago booth, and now I am busy working on the CHA California booth.  Boy what a booth this is going to be!  We will be featuring quite a few NEW books, including Mark Montano’s “Pulp Fiction, Perfect Paper Projects”.  Mark will be in our booth demoing and signing his new book.  If you haven’t met Mark yet, now is your chance.  Then, our very own Suzanne McNeill will also be demoing and teaching Zentangle® in our booth.  Plus we will be giving away Zentangle books to anyone who does a Zentangle. So make a point on stopping by booth #2222, there will be lots of excitement.

The holidays will be here before we know it, along with the start of a new year.  So I want to wish you and yours a very blessed holiday season and a wonderful new year to come.  We are all fortunate to be working in this wonderful industry that we all love.

Till next time.


Posted by: designoriginals | November 4, 2010

Mark Montano and Pulp Fiction

Hello Everyone,

Is it really November?
Of course it is, and you know what that means?  I already have my family’s Christmas Trees up, all seven of them!
My wife Debra and I love to decorate the interior of our house for the upcoming Holiday Season.  So instead of just enjoying everything for a few weeks in December, we enjoy the decorations for two months.  The 12 foot tree usually takes the longest and when it is finished, it is just beautiful. But my favorite is the small tree that is decorated with handmade ornaments made over the years by my daughters.  Now that Jaylen is 23 and Jourdain is 21, those ornaments are priceless!

Recently, Design Originals attended the Houston Quilt Show, showcasing our new quilt patterns and our NEW title, ‘Zentangle, Fabric Arts, Quilting, Embroidery’.  What a HIT!!
People love to Zentangle, and now Quilters are also able to experience this wonderful new process.

Next, Design Originals will be attending the TAEA show in Austin Texas.  The Texas Art Education Association  conference is held once a year.  The conference is for every Art teacher in the State of Texas.  Each state holds its own conference throughout the year, with the National Conference (NAEA), being held in Seattle Washington.  It is this simple, Teachers LOVE Zentangle!!  So, if you have a school in your town, which I know everyone does, you must consider stocking the Zentangle titles.  Teachers love the process because it really helps students focus.

Oh, and I can finally tell you all about Design Originals exciting news!!
Design Originals is doing a series of books with Mark Montano!  Yes, that Mark Montano.

Mark was on Trading Spaces and While You Were Out for years, and still continues to Host shows on TV.  The first book will be presented at CHA California.  The title is ‘Pulp Fiction- Perfect Paper Projects!’ I have seen the projects, and they are really cool.  Mark will also be in our booth (#2222) during CHA California.  So make a point of stopping by.

Till next time.

Posted by: designoriginals | October 7, 2010

Bead Fest in Arlington, Texas

Hello Everyone,
Oh my goodness!  It is October already!  Where is this year going?
September seems like such a blur.

I took a few days off in September to travel back to my hometown of Steeleville,  Illinois.
My wife Debra and I celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary on September 4, in the same American Legion where we had our wedding reception.  (Married in 1985 and moved to Texas in 1987).
My daughters, Jaylen and Jourdain, planned this really wonderful celebration for us.
So we fed 224 people, drank a little (lot) of wine, danced, and visited with many family and friends.  Some we had not seen since our wedding, 25 years ago.  All in all it was a great time!

Recently Design Originals attended the Bead Fest Show in Arlington Texas.  This was the first time the show has been in our area.  There were lots and lots of beads!  The show also featured some very talented Bead Artists who were in attendance.  One great thing about doing a local show is the fact you can go home every night.  Plus, my wonderful wife Debra and daughter Jourdain also were able to help out.  (Really I think they both shopped most of the time).  Top selling books for us at the show were Kumi Brading, Beading Basics & Beyond, Friendship Bracelets 102, Bead Basics 101, and believe it or not, the Zentangle titles SOLD OUT.  I am telling you, if you have not jumped on the Zentangle bandwagon, you need to.

CHA California is right around the corner, January 29th, and there is a lot of preparation already going on.  Booths to plan out, classes to organize, demos to create, paperwork to fill out, and that is just the beginning.

Even before CHA, we have many shows to plan and attend:
The Houston Quilt Show is October 30th.
Art of the Carolinas is November 12th.
TAEA (Texas Art Education Association) is also November 12th.
Then we start all over again with the start of the 2011 shows.
Till next time,


Posted by: designoriginals | August 26, 2010

It’s too darn hot!!

Hello everyone,

Oh my goodness, it is almost the end of August, and in Texas that means the 100 degree heat is almost over.  Yes, we had 17 straight days of over 100 degree heat!  To top that off, my truck air conditioning stopped working, so driving home I just kept telling myself to enjoy the private sauna I was experiencing.  OR better yet, just imagine driving home and feeling like there is a hair dryer on high blowing in your face set on HOT.

Just finished unloading a truck loaded with Design Originals reprints, and yes, I know how to drive a forklift.  I think that is called “Job Security!”
I was glad it was only like 90 degrees today, and I did not run over my cell phone with the forklift (it’s happened)…. Oh Happy Day!
So for everyone waiting on ‘Totally Tangled’, your orders will ship out today, YEA!!

Other top sellers reprinted and unloaded were titles like Hemp Happy, Soapmaking 101, Friendship Bracelets 101, Strip Happy, Tim Holtz distressables, Zentangle Basics, Bead Basics 101, and Beading Basics and Beyond.  It is so great that all these titles continue to sell out.

Till next time, Dean.

Older Posts »