Name: Teri Dimalanta
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Children: Kai (8) and Mika (6)
Online Home: The Journals of Giddy Giddy
You may remember seeing some of Teri's creations right here on Ohdeedoh, like her gorgeous, homemade fish kite, or her sweet letter writing space or the super fun long reach gizmo thingy. And now we are lucky enough to really meet Teri, the creative mama behind it all. Sure, we are not surprised to learn that sewing, sculpting, painting, and sketching are integral to her family's daily life but read on to find out what their true passion is.
How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
The moment I discovered the world of artist/craft blogs about 6 years ago I knew I wanted in. I was taken by the creativity and generosity of the likes of: Camilla Engman, Kathreen of Whip-Up, Cassi of Belladia, Ana Ventura of Papeis Por Todo a Lado, just to mention a few. But for many years I remained a blog spectator since my plate was plenty full with two young kids and my then start-up business, Giddy Giddy.
But on August 2009 I witnessed the clouds part and heard the angels sing when both my girls entered elementary school. You'd think I sent them off to boarding school, but their time in school gave me that extra time for my inner blogger to come out! For 2 years now I've been happily feeding my blog and its been feeding me. Keeping an online journal can sometimes give me the impetus to execute and follow through on those tiny seeds of ideas that wake me up at 2 am in the morning.
What are your favorite things to post about?
I love the show-and-tell aspect of blogging. "Look everyone, look what I've just made!" I feel like a school kid needing a place to show my stuff, especially the handmade clothes that I constantly inflict upon my daughters. My childhood dream was to be a fashion designer, so in some ways even the creation of one-off pieces allows me to fulfill that dream.
But my favorite subjects to post about always relate to the creative process. Recently I shared my daughters' experiences with linoleum block printing which at first may seem too difficult for young children. I photographed much of the process including their struggles and their triumphs. Kids in general can really rise to some challenging projects and also thrive because they've been given an opportunity to try.
How often do you post? Any tips on managing your time — running a family, a blog, and a business?
I have my creative hiatuses and also my prolific weeks and all this averages to about 2 posts a week. For me, the key to meeting daily, as well as long term personal goals, comes down to my incredibly supportive partner and creative collaborator. Several years ago, my husband put his own wonderful career on hold to work from our home office/studio and take on role as Mr. Mom. Now the poor guy hangs out with me 24/7 — what could be more unselfish? He's the true taskmaster by juggling kids, managing his freelance work, playing an integral role in marketing for our family business, and doing all the cooking and cleaning. Nothing I do would be possible without his backing me 200%.
My feeble attempts at time management look like this: I chain myself to my dining room table and methodically cross off items on my never-ending to-do list. The chaining is necessary because I've long suspected that I have attention and hyperactivity issues. However, I know that nothing interesting or extraordinary is ever achieved when my days are guided by my list. It has become essential that set aside this process for days at a time so I can enjoy that idle, restful exploration time that is so wonderful in kindling my very best ideas. (And this is exactly how I got my husband to take on the cooking and cleaning! Honey, I need to nap so I can kindle an idea. Thanks!)
Why is doing crafts with your kids important?
I suppose if I were a scientist, I'd be doing science experiments with my kids. If I were a farmer we'd be gardening and tending animals together. If I were funeral director, we'd … oh never mind. Since I'm a crafter and designer, the kids are immersed in all the things I'm interested in: sewing, sculpting, painting, sketching. But I do believe that the time spent experimenting together strengthens our bond and also expands our vocabulary for self expression.
What is your family's favorite activity?
Music and theatre tug at my kids hearts the way that art tugged at mine. Instead of
idolizing Hannah Montana, my girls want to grow up to be Idina Menzel and Lea
Salonga. If you know these names, maybe you are a Broadway musical groupie like we
are. Our family loves going to shows every chance we get.
All this passion for musical theatre means our little house resembles a storage unit for instruments and theatre costumes. This is quite all right by me as it ensures that I get to regularly enjoy my daughters' reenactments of Les Miserable, Annie, Phantom, Wicked, etc. They have become musically prodigious and take part in choirs and bands, compose their own music, play several instruments and perform on the stage. That's the proud mom talking. There's never a dull moment for us. While it may seem that art is our thing — truly, music is!
(Images: Dimalanta Family)