Thursday, August 22, 2013

Summer 2013

Time for an update on Maude!

Summer has been coasting by and has been filled with lots of activity - three BraveGirlsArt camps, a Summer Writing Camp for Adults, visits from friends, and a 10-day road trip through seven states. Meanwhile, John McCann - our trailer guru - has only a few screws and patches to go before he packs up his tools. He's installed new sink in the bathroom as well as a plumbing system that will work with the water hookups at any campgrounds we visit, has fixed up our electrical system, and made some important structural repairs.
Our seamstress extraordinaire, Debbie Bartell, is rounding the corner toward completion of all the cushions and curtains. We've already got the booth seats - with their irresistibly sweet robin's-egg-blue piping - and the back couch cushions (two-sided patterns!!) came yesterday. Remaining are the top bunk cushions and the seersucker pinstripe curtains. Almost there!!

Meanwhile, we've been plotting and planning for Maude's exterior paint transformation. We'd already shined up the middle gold panel with acetone a few weeks ago, and after a few test strips and some YouTube tutorials, we opted for a DIY spray-paint job. We taped up each section and began the work yesterday, with an flat black enamel for the lower panels.

Up next is a a pale blue stripe on top of the gold to match the piping of our cushions and one of the flags in our logo, as well as a fresh coat of white paint for the top.

In related news, Joanne Rose, our insanely talented web designer, has been moving and grooving on our website, and we have launched our first Food for the Soul Train e-course, "Kitchenanigans: A Culinary Storytelling Workshop," which offers 30 days of photo and writing prompts, as well as a private Facebook group for sharing, all for just $30. Starts September 9!! Go here for more information and to register:

Here are more photos of Maude-in-progress:
Tools of the trade
One of our mascots
Checkerboard flooring

Lighting 2

Corner repair and stain

Guiding principles

Booth cushions left

Booth cushions right

Dinner in Maude!

Tape prep 1

Tape prep 2

Tape prep 3

Office for a day!

Debbie's double-sided cushions!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

It's Official!

Our new logo designed by the sassy and talented, Danielle Spiewak

Food for the Soul Train is registered with the state of New Jersey and our dream is becoming a reality! We worked hard these last few months to hone our vision for this business and to craft our Passion Statement:

Food for the Soul Train provides mobile art and writing workshops for all ages. Our mission is to bring creative inspiration to communities everywhere, to offer celebratory play spaces and collaborative environments for learning, and to foster relationships with other artists and writers.

Noé Nuñez, Branch Manager at TD Bank, Nutley

When we joined the Nutley Chamber of Commerce this month, we explained to Rich Spector that Food for the Soul Train is essentially merging our passions, skills, and expertise under one roof. The "mobile" part of this is MAUDE (Mobile Art Unit Designed for Everyone)--the vintage travel trailer we are in the process of turning into a creativity space. It will likely not hold actual classes, but will serve more as an inspiration and an iconic representation of the art & writing workshops we'll be leading. Aside from private homes and parties, we also envision bringing our workshops to educational facilities. Walking through the room installations at IKEA recently, we realized that Maude is a similar incubator. We are designing a colorful and lively space, which will become a launching pad for ideas, projects and experiences. The vintage trailer will travel with us. It will house our art supplies and peripheral equipment, and on occasion she will be our home away from home. We see it as a space for personal expansion that can grow from quiet introspection. 

MAUDE's refurbishment is coming along nicely. The seat cushions are being sewn, her floor has been fortified, and her exterior is getting a polish. She is on target to make an appearance at BraveGirlsArt camp this summer here in Nutley and her OFFICIAL debut will be at Patti Digh's Design Your Life Camp! in Georgia this October. Stay tuned . . . 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What we didn't think to ask for . . .

Remember a few weeks back we put it out to the Universe that we needed a handyman? Someone who had a bit of extra time, who might be familiar with vintage camper trailers, who could lend us his or her expertise and not cost us an arm and a leg?

Well, what we didn't think to ask for was someone who is not tripped up by the little (big) problems we might find.

What we didn't think to ask for was someone who would arrive on our driveway and get to work without a word, maybe even whistle while doing so.

What we didn't think to ask for was someone who would pop his head out of Maude's door with a huge grin on his face and say, "I love being creative. I was thinking about this issue all night and I came up with a plan."

What we didn't think to ask for was John McCann.

Rebuilding the front door

Measure twice, cut once

A new floor

Doorless for a few days

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Singing her praises. Maude.

Our project is technically named after Maude in the classic movie Harold and Maude, but we were reminded not once, but twice this week of the TV show starring Bea Arthur and it just so happens that the lyrics to the theme song are totally perfect for our Maude, too. We thought we'd share them on a cloudy Saturday morning. Maybe we can sing that last line as we roll through towns and cities near you someday soon . . . 

Lady Godiva was a freedom rider
She didnt' care if the whole world looked.
Joan of Arc with the Lord to guide her
She was a sister who really cooked.

Isadora was the first bra burner
And you're glad she showed up. (Oh yeah)
And when the country was falling apart
Betsy Ross got it all sewed up.

And then there's Maude.
And then there's Maude.
And then there's Maude.
And then there's Maude.
And then there's Maude.
And then there's Maude.
And then there's

That old compromisin', enterprisin', anything but tranquilizing,
Right on Maude.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Interior decorating

It all begins with a to-do list

While we continue our search for the fix-it carpentry whiz / all-things vintage trailer specialist of our dreams, we are diving right into the stuff we REALLY can do something about right now and which - truth be told - is one of the most exciting aspects of getting Maude ready for her debut: interior decorating!

Last week, we took a bike ride to the Fabric Warehouse on the edge of town to look at options for upholstery, pillows, and curtains. So much to choose from!!

We also looked for texture and something neutral
The combination of stripes and florals was appealing

We liked the shapes and colors in this fabric

We thought of fabrics that might pair up well

A few days later, we trolled the maze of IKEA in Paramus, bypassing the cinnamon rolls and Swedish meatballs to look for inspiration. It turns out IKEA sells fabric, too, and we found some sweet ideas for the back couch, the top bunk and a pillow or two. 

There is so much to cover: The booth seats up front, the back couch/bed, and the mattress on the pull-down bunk over the couch. And Maude has more than a half-dozen windows to drape. 

At IKEA, we landed on our final picks - the triangle pattern on the right is for our back couch. The grey-and-white pattern will be on the reverse to offer more of a neutral palette. The word-number fabric on the right will cover the top bunk. And the orange with off-white polka dots will be pillows! Still looking for curtains... 

Debbie Bartell, seamstress and happy art-maker

Our friend and seamstress extraordinaire Debbie Bartell will be sewing and stitching up a storm over the next few weeks.

The three of us returned to the fabric store to look at vinyl options for the booth seating. We also decided to add piping to seal the vintage look. (And we'll let you in on a little secret here: Debbie has never worked with vinyl before, but she is bravely diving in to the challenge.)

All this to say that Maude is coming together!

Also, on a not-so-side note: We've entered Maude in Intuit's "Love Our Local Business" contest. The company is granting 15 wishes for small businesses that need a little help getting off the ground. You can still vote for us here: In the search box, type "Food for the Soul Train" and you'll see a photo of Maude. Voting ends May 12 and you can vote once a day!

Friday, May 3, 2013

First things first

Putting it out to the Universe: We need a handyman, hopefully someone familiar vintage trailer construction. Maude is in need of some body work. The plywood under her metal frame has some rotten spots, one birch panel on the interior wall has water damage and needs replacing. Her door also has water damage and may need replacing, as well. 

We're no experts, and so have no idea what we're looking at exactly, which is why we need some professional intervention. Our budget is...well, conservative...but we WILL pay this magical mystery person who would be willing to help us. Let us know in the comments field below if you or someone you know could come take a look and give us an estimate...

Monday, April 29, 2013

Maude Launch

And we're off!

Drove home Sunday morning with Maude rumbling behind us. The feeling of a 1,600-pound tin can tugging behind you is a little odd, like if someone were to grab onto your belt loops and pull while you were trying to run. The car felt sluggish and ate up gas like you wouldn't believe, but we managed to pull up to the house before we drained the tank entirely. Amy's dad helped us back the trailer up into the driveway, and there it now rests as we contemplate next steps: a power wash, inquiries into some carpentry work, looking into RV resources for some of the parts we want to replace (the door, specifically), talking to the neighbor about hiring her to make new cushions and pillows, geeking out with color palettes, etc.

It's going to be so much fun to document this project of ours, and to see Maude transform into the mobile creativity space we're designing. We plan on updating our progress once a week, so be sure to check back in and see what's happening!

- Maya & Amy