Ginger the Cat

I was never a cat person. Cats always seemed like creepy, creeping creatures with a sneaky agenda. And though, I am still convinced that cats are a bit surreptitious and sly,  I have become a fan of one particular feline named, Ginger. My husband and I have four children of which, three of them are boys. Child number three is female and has forever sulked about not having a sister sibling. I figured if I could deal with four little humans I could take the plunge and add a furry offspring to the mix. Ginger the cat

Ginger was supposed to be a kitten. When we went to the pet store to “rescue” or adopt our cat, we did not foresee the rules and regulations tacked on to this process by the feline foster families. My daughter had her eyes on a sweet and slick little kitty that shined like freshly poured ink. She had been cuddling this cutie for quite some time  and it was evident that a bond had been formed. When my husband had filled out the paper work and was getting ready to pay and make our adoption official, the foster parent of the cat asked whether or not we had any other pets in the house. We were clueless that by answering “no” we would be breaking our daughter’s heart. Feline foster parents aim to place kittens into homes with current pets for the purpose of socialization. As my daughter’s tears dripped onto the sweet little kitty, the foster parent scooped the sweet ball of fur out of her arms and told her to find a cat at least one year old. After two hours of examining crate labels for cat birth dates, we found a one year old cat named Ginger. Luckily, Ginger was petite and cuddly at the time and our daughter was able to make a quick connection. Once we brought Ginger home, she became the star of our house and neighborhood. She has become a subject for my photography which in turn inspired my mixed media painting. she has starred in home made videos documenting her ever so sneaky behaviors: helping herself to freshly baked challahs, sitting in the middle of the kitchen table and daintily licking milk from a glass with her paws, wedging herself into the pantry to pull out her favorite brand of potato chips. She has a laundry list of her furry tales and acts as a furry muse to her less furry mom.

 

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Cherry Blossom

Washington D.C. is filled with many stone and marble monuments denoting the country’s history but, one of my most favorite icons are the organic, expressive, cherry trees. Cherry BlossomExperiencing the cherry trees in full bloom is like walking through a miniature enchanted forest. Pink and white blossoms form canopies around the Tidal Basin, where Thomas Jefferson proudly stands, observing the festivities. There are tea parties and picnics, hand holding, picture taking and smiles everywhere you look. The blossoms are visually intoxicating, especially for artists who want to capture every element of our nation’s worldly attraction.
This print started as an ink pouring on water color paper. Layered with acrylics, glazing medium and tissue papers, this  cheery cherry blossom emerged with a surprise. Petals blossomed into tiny hearts. Pure love.

 

Check out my webstore for great art prints and gifts by clicking this link: ART STORE.

Register for my online art classes here: ART CLASSES

If you would like custom work, please email me at juliatova@gmail.com

Laila the Lab

Laila the Lab mixed media collage

I don’t think that I was ever really a dog person. Growing up in Iowa, everyone seemed to have a dog and apparently I was quite timid around most furry friends. That is until I had one for my own. My husband is a cat person and even though I really wanted to add a puppy to our already full household, we started with a one year old tabby called Ginger. (More on that later.) Meanwhile, now that we have two teenagers, a tweeny and one tween wannabe, I figured our kids could use a little Lab love.

Most of the responsibility of being a dog owner lies in my hands. However, each child has been involved with walking, feeding and grooming whenever I ask for help. Child number two is greeted with a lip smacking Laila as soon as he walks in the door from school. Laila  eagerly waits her turn as #2 feeds Ginger the cat first and then proceeds downstairs to take care of the pup. Each child has their own relationship with our pets who in return show so much love and affection to our family.

Surprisingly, Laila seems to have figured out how to transcend canine status, making herself a very credible fifth child. She craves attention, expects extra snacks, in between meals and doesn’t always listen when called. She does however, accept her regular, daily feedings without the usual familiar family whine, “What are we having for dinner?” “Ugh…not that again!”  Thank goodness she doesn’t have the human “back talk” feature.

Check out my webstore for great art prints and gifts by clicking this link: ART STORE.

Register for my online art classes here: ART CLASSES

If you would like custom work, please email me at juliatova@gmail.com

A Colorful Ride

A Colorful Ride
“A Colorful Ride,” is representational of my personal art perspective, both playful and whimsical.  The lively, young bicyclist rides through a once antiquated alley way, now filled with 21st century pop. He passes bright orange, Chinese lanterns as he rides under a passage of pastel umbrellas. Candy colored doo
rs line the alley walls as the bicyclist proceeds on his lighthearted adventure. Perhaps when one’s childhood is filled with cold, colorless winters, an artist will emerge, growing up with the need to indulge in vivid colors and zesty imagery that will, in hope, delight the eyes and warm hearts.

Check out my webstore for great art prints and gifts by clicking this link: ART STORE.

Register for my online art classes here: ART CLASSES

If you would like custom work, please email me at juliatova@gmail.com

The Better Way to Read to Your Kids

 

 

Published on Kveller.com 12/13/2012.  Photo by Julia T. Malakoff

Sometimes, while all four children are seated at the table, shoveling cheerios down their o-shaped mouths, I have tried to limit breakfast battles by reading a book.

It does not seem to matter what kind of book I read in the early hour; they all listen and concentrate on the tale at hand. With my children ranging from teen, tween and post-tot, it fascinates me that each child is able to enjoy the story, no matter what their reading level is. This has led me to think about the power of picture books and early reading comprehension. Continue reading

My Fridge Lacks Magnitude!

grand-mom-fridge

Published on Kveller.com 6/26/14

I have a new refrigerator. It is shiny and wide with French doors and sports a special kid-friendly snack drawer for easy to grab cheese sticks and Gogurts. It has a special setting for fruits and veggies and organized doors with shelves for varying sizes of bottles and jars. It even lets me know when it hasn’t been shut properly with a cool bell tone. Continue reading

Have A Ball (or two) This Father’s Day!

Baseball was never one of my most favorite sports. As a kid, I never understood the concept. I remember watching my first minor league game as a teen and rolling my eyes with boredom as the ball was hit and the players ran their bases only to get out or strike out.  The problem was mine. I just did not have an understanding of the game until I became a mom of three boys. They have all taken up the sport and between my husband and I, we must spend literally hundreds of hours on the fields. It’s taken some time, but, I am now a baseball believer. It makes me chuckle to think that my sons, who all have a bit of the “ants in their pants” gene, do not mind the slower pace at times of this sport. They may fiddle in the outfield and chit-chat in the box, but, they are 100% engaged. Here’s to the all American sport of baseball! In honor of our upcoming Father’s Day holiday, I am posting a link to one of my favorite images from my new Father’s Day gallery at: http://www.paperjewels.smugmug.com. Please check out the our photos and have a happy Father’s Day!

“What are We Having for Dinner?”

Menu scan

Published on Kveller.com 1/31/13.  Illustration by Julia T. Malakoff

As my children trickle home from school and their tummies begin to rumble, I can hear the question before it even begins to leave their mouths. With authority that they think is their birthright, they ask me, “What are we having for dinner?” Oh, how I have grown to strongly dislike this inquiry. When the question begins to form, it is not just on the lips of one child but the lips of four little mouths whining in unison. It’s a rhetorical question for sure and experience has taught me that there is no correct answer that will satisfy all eight ears. Continue reading

Trick and Treat

by Julia Malakoff

Published in the Reston Patch, 11/13/2012

It is mid- November and my kids are still munching away at their Halloween candy.  Four kids equals three king size pillowcases and one bucket full of candy left on top of my refrigerator and inside of my cabinets. Each child has chosen their own “secret” spot to hide their bounty. Nice idea, however the candy is creeping out of every crevice in my kitchen and I am ready for it to all go way. We have negotiated with our children to donate half of their candy and it will usually go to a shelter or my husband’s office, for I am sure the people in his corporate workplace must come from families where they don’t have enough sweets of their own and can’t wait to dive into our leftover treats. Nevertheless, even after half of the candy is donated, and all trading has been set aside, we still have too much for one household. I personally am not a big candy person, but, I do enjoy a well baked cookie treat. A few years back, when a cookie mood may have struck and I may have been lacking in chocolate chips, I recall turning to my kids and asking them if anyone had any chocolates in their Halloween candy collection. Continue reading

XYs learning their ABC’s with OT

by Julia Malakoff

A worksheet was sent home from my son’s school with a note from the teacher. Please have your son practice his letters every day. I remember shaking my head in confusion. My son, who was in first grade at the time, had attended three years of preschool and completed public kindergarten. We had arduously reviewed writing the alphabet, using dot to dots, coloring books and tracing letters. I had spent countless hours of one on one time with him, for he was the fortunate oldest child who had my divine attention.  In fact, in my opinion, at the time, he seemed on course and I truly did not realize that he was struggling with his handwriting at school. Continue reading