Alabama, Meet Greece.

Chris and I are in Atlanta this weekend for the SEC Championship game.

(At this point, I WOULD say that I am fully prepared to comfort my husband in his mourning after the game tonight, but I already got roasted on Facebook for saying that. It’s just that my opinion about the facts trump my admittedly weak fandom…I can’t help it. But I genuinely hope you can ALL come back and tell me how so very wrong I was. Truly. For my husband’s sanity.)

At any rate, Chris’ Aunt Kitty and Uncle (Toenail Art) Leo are here as well. Our plans were to go to our favorite Atlanta experience, Taverna Plaka Friday night for dinner. And between Chris and Leo, about 15 extra guests were invited as well, all Alabama fans here for the game.

If you’ve been around here a while, you already know that my family is Greek, and Chris and I both adore Greek culture and food. Taverna Plaka showcases both like no other. From flaming cheese to belly-dancing to whole families (including children) dancing on the tables to throwing napkins and yelling “OPA!!!”, it’s the epitome of the culture that you all came to know and love in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

And, since we had 15 first-time guests, Chris, who is all about showing southern hospitality in every situation, was very intent on making sure that they got the full experience.

Chris’ friend Tim and co-worker Dax were a bit shy of the belly-dancer at first…IMG_5908

Leo, having been there before, had no such qualms.IMG_5931

One round of belly-dancing passed, we finished our amazing dinners, and no one had gotten on any of the tables.

This concerned Chris greatly.

He just didn’t feel like his dinner guests were getting their money’s worth.

So when he saw the belly-dancer headed back out, he asked me if I would dance on the table with him if he could get the belly-dancer to join us.

Let’s see….I’ve had bronchitis for over a week…I’m basically hacking up carpenter’s glue…I am the worst dancer in the whole world due to a severe lack of the rhythm chromosome, and…call me a curmudgeon. I can take it.

But I willingly agreed to let HIM dance on the table…and I’d be his loving and supportive photographer.

And so…IMG_5921

IMG_5923 Yes.

He was a natural.

I think he may have been taking belly-dancing lessons without telling me.

Now I know exactly what to get him for Christmas: A “Prince Ali, Mighty is He…” Aladdin-esque Belly-Dancing Outfit. Mm hmm.

Leo couldn’t resist the fun that Chris was obviously having, so he cut in:IMG_5926

I THINK he might have been teaching her the hokey-pokey, but I’m not quite sure.

Needless to say, there are 15 Alabama fans that are now more educated on my husband’s booty-shaking talents the Greek culture than they may have ever wanted to be.

 

 

 

 

 

Oh…wait…you wanted videos?

Lucky you. I’ve got ‘em.

Chris…

 

And Leo…featuring his blinking Alabama Elephant tie – it really makes the dance pop, don’t you think?

Welcome to Greece.

All I Want for Christmas is Some Toenail Art. . .

I saved the most bloggable gift from last night to tell you about today.

If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, you’ve probably seen references to my Uncle-in-Law’s “unusual” hobby of making his wife toenail art out of his toenail clippings. If not, you may want to go to the above link before continuing.

Anyway, when they moved to the beach earlier this year, Leo left some of his art medium behind in his desk drawer at work. Chris was cleaning his desk out, and ran across this priceless find:
So naturally, Chris seized the extremely rare opportunity to make LEO a piece of unforgettable art out of Leo’s own abandoned body parts. Now, these aren’t Grade A Angus Clippings, because they are fingernails, not toenails. But hey, art is art.

So Chris set up a studio in his workshop:
Bought some supplies and prepared them (which, by the way, I think will be the only time that my husband ever goes to Michael’s Arts and Crafts voluntarily):And being that my husband is immaculately thorough, actually divided the fingernails out and counted them, to ensure that his art was as symmetrical and planned out as possible.
Here was his engineering math:
(201 nails divided by 70 squares equals 2.87 nails / square)

So he then “randomly” drilled 1/16″ diameter holes, after estimating how many he needed:
Then set to work painstakingly mounting each nail with craft glue in its own hole, like little coarse hair plugs on a middle aged man.
Now I would like to say that he stayed completely sterile and was paranoid and careful about touching the nasty medium,
. . . but when I came down to check on him, he was building his masterpiece and eating skittles with the same hands.
He got all of the lovely nails in. The last few became difficult to work between their neighbors and had to be carefully threaded with needle nose pliers into their special new home.
And I’m telling you, some of these nails were a bit… well, um… they were toting some funk:
then a few coats of a nice latex spray paint, and the nails were left with a Sally Hansen Ultra Gloss finish:
Then finished off his masterpiece with a fully licensed collegiate collectible and coordinating tee:
So last night, Leo got to be surprised with the transformation of his abandoned clippings:
Straight from the heart!! Err. . . toes. . . or fingers. . . or desk drawer. . .
I know the question all my loyal readers are dying to ask, and No, you can’t get one. However, if you would like to commission a reproduction, all you have to do is collect several hundred of your own funky fingernails (or your Uncle’s funkier toenails), and give Chris a call.

Toenail Art

Need a new hobby? Maybe a craft idea for VBS or Sunday School?

 

This has been a blog that many of my friends have requested, and since we are down at the beach this weekend at Kitty and Leo’s, it was the perfect time to take some good pictures and tell you about Toenail Art.

 

A little background: Kitty and Leo are Chris’ Aunt and Uncle (the ones that recently retired and moved to the beach permanently). We are very close to them as Chris has worked with them for many years (and I work from home with them). They don’t have kids other than us, and Ali is their beloved Grandbaby. This is the story of Leo’s creative method of showing Kitty his love for her.

 

It all started one Christmas as an innocent joke. Leo bought Kitty some gold earrings, and just to see what would happen, he attached a toenail to each one. Kitty thought they must be shark’s teeth or shells, and she thought that they were beautiful. She wore them all Christmas day before he ‘fessed up to the true nature of the bling on the earrings. Luckily for him, she thought it was hilarious, as did the rest of the family. (I personally find it hard to believe that Kitty didn’t recognize those toenails – I mean, this was pre-painting and pre-sculpting eras of toenail art, and they really kinda look like toenails to me).

 

 

 

Next Christmas, Kitty got a Santa Claus Christmas tree ornament. This one I find much more unassuming than the earrings. You wouldn’t even notice, unless you looked closely at the intricately painted pinwheel:
The next year got much more intricate. This sunflower has many toenail details, including the Ladybug, grass, eyes, smile, flower petals, and leaves. Leo saved those big old toenails all year to make this one!
Chris gave Leo a jar one Christmas that said “Toenails”. That jar sat in Leo’s office all year long collecting his art medium.

 

The last year (thus far) of the era of toenail art, Leo went all out. A whole beachscape – FIVE separate sculptures, with unbelievably intricate detail. THREE different species of crabs, beautiful beach reeds, and quite large (and very-uncomfortable-in-shoes-looking) palm leaves.





 

All of these beautiful creations can be seen in their curio cabinet in their living room.

 

My personal commentary: some of my friends who have happened to hear about the toenail art find it to be very strange. I’m not sure that I find it VERY strange.

Somewhat Strange? Ok, sure.

Unusual? Uh huh.

Unique? Obviously.

Creative? Definitely!

A great idea for laughs? for sure!

Cute and Romantic? Yes, I actually do think it is cute and romantic. I mean, think of how much Leo must have wanted to make that gold crab just perfect to let his toenails get that long!!

That’s love.

I personally love the sculptures. It is unique, personal, hilarious, and great conversation pieces! And, they really don’t gross me out (except maybe the earrings – being that they aren’t painted and lacquered, they are pretty toenail-like). Maybe it’s because I’ve always been hard to get to gross out, but hey – my opinion is, whatever keeps the romance alive, go for it!

…But Chris, please don’t start saving your boogers.

 

Editor’s note: Sequel posts to Toenail Art:
1. The Appraising of Toenail Art
2. Toenail Art Revenge – when my Husband made a piece of Toenail Art for Leo.