Sunday, May 22, 2011

Florida Keys Treasure Hunting Yields DIY Inspirations....And A Little Conch Chowder Too!

Treasure hunting in The Florida Keys makes for an interesting venture.  After all, where can you go in the continental US and find people not only willing, but wanting to pick up their mail daily from a manatee?  This little friend in the hula skirt is a common scene throughout the Florida Keys.  Only, these people gave him a little outfit to wear.  

Mrs. Mac's Front Door

I just return from a short trip to Islamorada and wanted to give you a feel for the place, if you haven't already visited.  I also found a super cool idea on how to DIY a hanging lamp, met a neat furniture maker, and made a treasure find along the way.  So sit back with your margaritas or an ice cold beer and enjoy.....
If you don't drive too fast getting to your destination, you will find all sorts of 'sites' along the way. In fact, it is almost required that as you leave the Miami/Dade County area, you must slow way way down.  It's the's chill.   Everything in the Keys are found at a mile marker, with the very end, Key West, holding the number 1 mile marker location.  We stopped for a few goodies at Mrs. Mac's Kitchen, mile marker 99.4 in Key Largo.  As you can see from the sign, Mrs. Mac claims to serve "World Famous Key Lime Pie."  Well.....every restaurant claims this.....Guess they shared the recipe with each other.(wink)  Upon returning home, I found out that Mrs. Mac's has a website.  Go figure, the Keys is catchin' up!    
The joint is filled with license plates from all over the country hanging in every nook and cranny.  A feast for the eyes of jumbled, kitchy delight.  When you visit the Keys you must partake in the local foods......
Locally caught fried fish in a basket.

Big bowl of spicy conch chowder.
Local caught crab cakes.

I didn't get an image of the Key Lime Pie that we shared.  It was gone before the cap came off my lens!  The other distraction came from looking out the window of the restaurant across the street.  Something caught my eye and I didn't stick around to help finish the pie.  Instead, I ran across to see what this was all about......
These guys call themselves, Key's Art and Furniture.  The owners, Mark and Virginia were super friendly and showed us all the amazing custom cypress furniture that they offer.   For some reason, the furniture reminded me of Gina at The Shabby Chic Cottage.  She is someone on the blogs I love to follow because of her handmade furniture. I thought she would enjoy seeing their work.  I especially like Mark's "Shark Bite" series of furniture.   

Bar stool with a "shark bite" taken out of the end!
Further down in Islamorada I found this neato shop.
I mean, come on.....just crazy fun!  The sign out front indicated that they sold shells and I need some new fresh things for my master bedroom redo, plus I had a feeling there might be something special here for's a treasure hunt!  I did find a huge selection of shells, starfish and coral and gobbled some up.  But, the most exciting find of the day came from this..........

It is a little tug boat made from recycled metals. How could I pass this one up!  So adorable and I know that it will fit right in my colorful home.  That little pelican is cute too, but I didn't purchase him.  Oh well.....

Love this little tug. I
will tuck him somewhere neat.
So....I promised to show you a great DIY hanging lamp, didn't I?  Remember, Mrs. Mac's restaurant and all those crazy license plates??  Well, I guess they had so many of them that they decided to use them for the hanging lamps around the place too.  I think it is a great idea for a kid's room, billiards room, bonus room....hey, maybe even in a super casual kitchen!  Check this out!
Cool, isn't it?!  The glow from the underside of the plates is neat too.  As you can see, the lamp is hung with a regular chain from the ceiling.  I took an image from the under/inside area to show you how they pulled off this project.
Can you even believe how simple this is??  They used a regular piece of strapping metal and a bunch of bolts and screws to hang this with a simple hanging socket light kit.  They bolted the plates together in two places, bending them down to create the shade.  Then attached the strapping on both ends with the socket working through the middle.  So easy and genius!  Here is a larger one, made the same way but with a few more plates.
These lamps are hanging all over the restaurant and supply a nice amount of lighting.  If you try this project, you must send me the images! 

 I hope you enjoyed checking out my treasure hunt in The Florida Keys, filled with all sorts of DIY inspirations.  I gotta go unpack my duffel bag and snack on my bag of Key Lime cookies bought at Bob's Bunz, mile marker 88.6.

-The End-


tofubeast said...

This made me hungry. I miss the Keys. It's been too long. Looks like you had a great time!

Gypsy Heart said...

Oh my ~ a piece of Heaven here on earth! All that seafood, color and the laid back feel just makes me so happy! I could eat one of everything on the menu right now...nothing like it.

Thanks for sharing!