Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sweet Surprise!

Yesterday, November 2nd, was our official, legal wedding day. In 1990 we tied the knot and became our new selves of "Pat and Lee Ann".  I say that because whenever anyone refers to us it is never Pat, or Lee Ann, or the Gillilands (which would be silly anyway since I kept my maiden name), but always Pat and Lee Ann.  It's not that we are glued at the hip, but we were friends with similar interests before we got married and we still enjoy doing fun things together.

Of course, this year being our 20th Anniversary, and as you all already know, we bought Tilley as our gift to each other.  Our fun thing to do together for the next 20, or 30, or 40 years.

We have been putting all our anniversary gift funds into making her our steampunk haven for two. As well, yesterday was a week day and we both had to work and do regular every day taking care of business chores. So I was of the impression that we would be having a quiet evening watching something interesting on the television with the girls.  Well, I was greatly mistaken.

My lovely husband set up a little surprise for me.  Here is a hint...
The candle is sushi shaped, one of our favourtie foods (which you can see in the photo, as well as umeboshi).  Some lovely ladies at a now closed Japanese grocery store gave us the candle for an anniversary a few years earlier.

Have you guessed?!
He made some of my favourite Japanese dishes and set up a romantic dinner for two in Tilley.

As Tilley is now parked in our garage and it's November in Canada, he even warmed her up before he surprised me. We had a wonderful, quiet, special meal in our lovely santuary. We spoke only of us related topics. It was fantastic!

Here's to many more wonderful future anniversary dinners in Tilley (whether in the garage or on the road).

Happy Anniversary Honey!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

....And the Votes are In

We have recently been discussing what to get each other for Christmas this year.  We knew we wanted to get something for Tilley as well.  It was a hard choice between getting some lovely elegant melamine dishware from Bongenre or lighting from Arevco Lighting as talked about in the post before this.

Well, the decision was made yesterday.  We live in a quaint neighbourhood where you can walk to various wonderful stores, and since our girls were both away, and it was a lovely autumn day, we decided to go on a stroll to check out one of our gift options.  We went to Arevco Lighting - it is literally a 10 minute walk from our house - lucky aren't we!  We spoke with the lady of the establishment and told her of our recent lighting style research for Tilley, which included our favourite from her store.  The only problem was that we did not see it displayed!  Well, to our great joy she informed us that they make them!  The parts come from Italy where the brass is cast and they do the rest. 

Pat's main concern was whether it would work on 12 volts as one of his plans this winter is to integrate a battery power system into Tilley.  With no hesitation she informed us that the transformer could easily be left out and work perfectly well with the system Pat will be putting in....and the lights would then cost us less as well.

Needless to say we have decided, wholeheartedly, to get two of these fantastic lights as our gift to each other.  They will be custom made to our specifications and will be in "dark antique".  The order is in and the down payment is made!


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cold Weather Creeping In

As the weather has been terribly rainy and cold the last while in our neck of the woods, Tilley has been nestled snug in the garage and we have not done any more camping.  At the same time, we have been incredibly busy on the homefront and our energies have gone elsewhere.

Of course that's not to say we haven't been thinking about her, it just means we will be doing a little less for the next while as life settles into back to school and some of our favourite autumn and winter holidays.  We plan to get back to work on Tilley in the winter.  We still have a lot we want to do with Tilley we fix the old refrigerator, get a new refrigerator, or simply add more storage in it's place, how to paint the exterior, how to paint the gas tank (after we buy a new one), and very important - new wiring and battery. 

Wiring is very important because we want to install some fabulous lighting.  Here are some options we have been investigating - something like this
Or this
But our favourite is this...
...and lucky for us it is for sale just down the road from our home at Arevco Lighting.  We have bought from them before and their light fixtures are all beautiful, well made pieces. Now the question is do we get it in "polished brass" like above or in "dark antique" like below????
We'll be sure to let you know as soon as we decide.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Most Often Heard

Tilley is currently taking a short siesta, but that certainly doesn't mean that she is forgotten.  Over the past few weeks we have had so many questions:  How is Tilley?  Have you been enjoying Tilley? Have you done anything new with Tilley?.... I could go on and on.

Tilley seems to have taken on a life of her own.  Twice very recently we have had people look at and then give us something while saying "That would be great for Tilley".  Yes, it's true, she's getting gifts now.

The first was at a swap meet a few weeks ago and we were looking at this...
...and a friend near us said "I think that would be great for Tilley".  Well, of course, we agreed and took it for her. It is solid metal (we think maybe brass) and looks to have been a wall sconce at one time.

The next item came when my dear husband went to a lovely artist and corset maker friend by the name of Robin Dostaler to pick up a brooch she had made for me. He arrived to find her with the brooch and this
She said it was something she has had for a long time and it came from her family and she just felt it was perfect for Tilley.

I am a little flabbergasted that people are gifting our trailer. On the other hand I am very pleased that she has taken on a life of her own and that her personality inspires people to help make her more beautiful.

Note:  We are not above accepting lovely things for Tilley - thank you!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Have Tilley Will Travel

Last week we finally had time to take Tilley on a long journey for an entire week.  We took her to our friends' campground, Raven's Knoll.  It was great to finally take a break from fixing and decorating and actually live in her.  One word to describe the experience - Sumptuous!

Evening photo of our set up.  We decided, as it is quite hot in our area right now, to not cook inside but to cook outdoors on our three burner stove.  Notice the kettle on top ready for tea.

On the inside we were ready for comfort.  Every person who came by wanted to see her insides and we proudly showed her off.  Many people were talking of looking for a Tilley of their own after visiting ours.

Here is our eating area during the day, notice the lovely pillows on the benches, you'll see them again soon.  The books on the table will hopefully one day be set on a self above the window behind them.

In the evening, the same space is transformed into our incredibly decadent sleeping area. The pillows you see in the first photo are feather and the covers come off.  Just add bamboo pillow cases and Voila! they do double duty. 
You can see the cushions that go from bench to bed, but on top is a feather mattress.  On top of that is the softest, warmest blanket we have ever owned.   The pillows, covers, mattress and blanket all come from a little shop called Quiltsetc
Best sleep we have ever had camping...ever!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Time for a Quickie

Since our last post about Tilley, we have not done anything new to her, but we did take her camping.  We spent three wonderful sunny days at a friend's campground near Eganville, Ontario called Raven's Knoll.  It was a joy to park and be finished with set up (of course the girls still had to set up their tent, but they didn't seem to mind so much).  We had a number of visitors come to visit and there was much Oooing and Aaahhing.  Our bed with the new feather mattress and feather pillows was extremely comfortable and we had the best camping sleep of all time.

We will have another opportunity to live in Tilley (and this time for a full week) when we attend Kaleidoscope Gathering.  We will be attending to give a Steampunk 101 workshop and hold a steampunk cocktail party on the Friday evening.

I leave you with a photo and a query

Brass and glass outdoor thermometer - we know we can attach it with earth magnets or screws to one of the larger windows.  The questions are - do we place it outdoors for an accurate measurement but possibly lose it by theft or inside for safety but not quite an accurate temperature reading....and/ we use screws for more permanency or earth magnets so we can put it away for travelling.

We hope to have many photos and stories to tell upon our return from Kaleidoscope Gathering. 

Until then....ta ta for now.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Few Baubles for Tilley

While Pat was performing his manly and practical alterations to Tilley, and other than the practical (and beautiful) painting of the wheels, there were some lovely adornments bought for Tilley that have now been added to her interior.

Some more practical than others, we purchased a few kitchen items to make cooking more enjoyable and our table arrangements more beautiful.
The serving dish and green pitcher in the back are unbreakable, the spoon is bamboo, the pan is by Kitchenaide (one of my favourite brands).  The goblets have green stems for a very special reason...
When we were first married, I found these antique green stem liqueur glasses (only one in the photo but we have 6 in total) and fell in love with them.  They were one of our first major, decorative purchases as a couple. The unbreakable goblets were bought as an ode to these little beauties.  We also purchased tumblers in the same green.

We enjoy lovely cutlery and so a new set was purchased just for Tilley.
If you look closely you can see that the handles are shaped like inverted hearts. Tilley is, after all, our Anniversary gift to each other.

Another wee piece we purchased to make Tilley just a little more posh was this lovely brass foot from one of our favourite shops, Lee Valley Tools. It has been added to cover the rubber tip on the table leg.  Much nicer than rubber.
We were finally able to add in a lovely lamp/candle holder we purchased a while back.  It is from Lee Valley Tools as well and is a Victorian reproduction. One good thing about the lamp/candle holder is that it comes in two parts
The first part attaches to the surface of your choice.  We have chosen to attach it to the side of the kitchen area cupboards.  This is wonderful, because when traveling, we can remove the heaviest part of the holder and store it away.  When put together...
...We have a lovely piece of artwork on its own and a practical holder for lamps and small candles (in the photo there is a porcelain dish and a flameless candle.  The other lovely thing about this holder is that it swivels and so can be moved out of the way for guests sitting on the couch below.

Finally, I have saved the best for last. 
"What?!" you say, "strips of velcro, how is that decorative, artistic or even worthy of the title 'bauble'?".  Well, it is the first part of an art installation.  When one is traveling with a trailer, everything must be stored securely so as not to be jostled and broken.  We bought some lovely original art for Tilley and this way we can have them away and safe when moving her and then displayed when we are set and still.
And here they are, attached to the velcro.  They actually came with velcro already attached on their backs, which gave us the idea on how to hang them in Tilley.
They are done by a wonderful artist named Daniel Martelock.  He is a local Ottawa artist and his steampunk works are fabulous.  Here is a close up of his wonderful art that we will be proudly displaying in Tilley.
Trust me, there is more to come.  I have more luxurious plans for Tilley.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Wheel Pain

When we bought Tilley it was decided to store her in the garage.  What we found is that she is 2" too high and so each time we would go to park her Pat would have to take quite a bit of air out of her tires and then we would have to pull her in on flat tires.  Of course the opposite would happen every time we needed to take her out again.  Not good for Pat or the tires.

So Pat found a brilliant solution online, which we will talk about a little later. First he would have to remove Tilley's original tires.  Suddenly there was a problem.  There was a wheel lock on each tire.  A wheel lock that needed a key.  A key we did not have. Pat was optimistic that there would be no issues since the locks on the spare tire came off easily without the key.  But of course that never happens in real life.

This was the state of the tires -  flat and locked on.

Pat worked hard on removing the wheel locks all Saturday and some of Sunday as well. He ran out of removal options.  He even bent the pliers. He ended up pounding them off with a cold chisel and hammer.  Finally he was victorious!
 Pat looking tired but with a sense of great accomplishment after having defeated the evil wheel lock.

The wheel lock did not come out looking so good.... (sorry about the blurring)

Now that they were finally off, we decided we might as well spruce them up.  I like to spruce things up, so I took on the job of making them spiffy.

Before sprucing up - they were dirty and basic white - they really needed a new look.

After cleaning all three tires and prepping them, I got down to the business of painting them.  I used the same paint and technique that I used on the stove top to make them look antique and worn.
Here is after a primer coat and the first gold coat of paint and then after a few layers of gold and charcoal coats of paint for the final distressed and antique finish.  Much better than glaring white!

Now that the original tires were off (and spiffy) Pat could do the impressive and creative part of the wheel saga.  Pat found online what were described as "storage wheels".  They are wooden wheels, made smaller than the original wheels in order to store one's trailer indoors more easily.

Step 1 - Lay up a panel of recycled 2 x 4s.  They are glued and pinned with dowels.

Step 2 - Measure, draw and cut the wheel disk.

Step 3 - Ta Da - circles of wood...

Step 4 - Cut the hole for the hub. Drill the holes for the bolts. Route away excess wood and test fit.

And the grand finale - Add a couple of reinforcing strips a la Asterix!  And once again.... Ta Da!

The new wheels give Tilley the right height so it will now save Pat's time and the life of the regular wheels, but Pat accidentally found that they also roll a lot more easily on concrete than the regular wheels - beware of unintentional movement and be sure to use chocks.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Odds & Ends

In just one week since having Tilley home we have been very busy.

Last weekend we took her out for her first sleepover.  We have friends with land and they invited everyone for a weekend there.  It's currently quite rough camping, but they were kind enough to hack out some flat land for us to park Tilley near the entrance...and so we did.

It was wonderful spending time with our friends in the great outdoors, and even better sleeping inside Tilley on our new feather mattress.  It was wonderful!

This weekend Pat and I (but mostly Pat) added a few odds and ends to Tilley. First off, to add some extra comfort for future trips, I used some recycled stuffing, some second hand and dollar store purchases and a little sewing and voila...

Decorative and comfortable pillows.  I will be adding a few more as the right materials come together. As the look we are going for is gentlemen's club,steampunk, posh,'s that for can rest assured that there will be no frills or lace involved.

Pat used his birthday money (gift card from Lee Valley) to purchase a number of bits and decoration pieces.  One such piece we have dubbed moustachio.  One of the finest looking of all time....
It is cherry wood. This is before staining.
And after staining....

....and in its destined place of honour.

I have saved the best for last.  Pat bought some very important pieces that are lovely and practical as well.

First a puzzle....

Why would anyone put a hole in the center of a cupboard door???

Pat working hard on his secret project....

Teaser of instrument in cupboard door....and finally....

The cupboard doors with instruments installed.  There is a hygrometer, a clock and a barometer.  All very practical when in the great outdoors.  Every explorer should have them.

There is more to come, but still in the planning stages.  There is work to do on the electrics and also the propane cooker.  As well, our refrigerator may not actually work so we will need to decide on whether to fix it, replace it, or use it to store our clothes.

....Until next time.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Behold the Magic of the Guru!

We have our dear Tilley back!  It was a long wait, but well worth it.

First, let us revisit the sad and pathetic condition in which we dropped her off at the guru's home....

Cream of Blah and peeling off the walls - not very cozy or plush in my opinion....

But now....

In this one you can see a copper horn that Pat had made a long while back and left at the guru's home.  The guru repurposed it into a decorative way to hide the wires going to the top cupboards.
Yes, you are seeing it correctly - upholstered wainscotting - the man is brilliant!

The colour is actually called Oxford Oxblood and it looks like distressed leather, like an antique men's club chair.
The pièce de résistance! Part of the Steampunk Canada logo is forever a part of our Tilley...I almost cried!
Here we have put in the new handles, the current curtains and the cushions.  The newly painted cooktop matches wonderfully with the copper horn.
And one last picture with cushions, curtains and the guru's fabulous work!

We highly recommend Brad McDonald for any interior upholstery work.  He listened to what we wanted and added his creative flair.  Make sure you have lots of time to leave it with him, but it's well worth the wait!