Friday, 31 May 2013

By design

I finished my Uni design course U101 this week.  It was one of the best courses I have been on.

As part of the course, I had assignments to design a t-shirt, create a solution to a problem (my group chose a better way to transport drinks from a drive through), a board game and to fix a fundamental problem within education (I chose procrastination).  Phew!  It's been a really interesting journey, has made me bolder, more creative and willing to take risks and make mistakes.  No bad thing.

This FridayDateNight will be on the subject matter of design.  I spent a bunch of time researching what kinds of foods are particularly designed and in the end I decided on Scandinavian open sandwiches, which has moved quite beyond a usual sandwich into a bit of an art.

Music: Spotify playlist.  He chose the music tonight and he has searched for the keywords of what how he thinks the design process might go: sketch, test, production.  Interesting.  Each word seems to gravitate towards a particular genre, with sketch being lots of ambient/jazz.  Quite perfect for a sunny evening.

Cocktail: Martini (sunny evening version)

He has added a twist to the usual martini, making it a really gentle, light and sweet version.
  • Finlandia Vodka
  • Noilly Prat
  • Lillet Blanc
  • Peach Bitters

Skagen Sild 

I found a wonderful blog dedicated only to my theme and I wanted to try everything.  So I chose four of the most fancy ones and followed his lead.  He is a Dane living in Canada and it's a really interesting blog - recommend.

I love pickled herring, but I haven't ever done more than just eat it as is.  This mixture combined the cut up herring with mayonaise, sour cream, dill, mustard, onion and pear (they said apple, but I'm a maverick).  I really enjoyed it and must revisit.

He thought the mixture was quite sloppy but a delicious gentle blend of flavours. He loved the rye bread and thought the fish/pear combo was lovely.  Was his favourite open sandwich.

Ham open sandwich

I had got some lovely ham cut thick from the local farmer shop and I wanted the next open sandwich to be quite simple.  Just the ham, a bit of lettuce, chives and alfafa.  Forgot I meant to add avocado, which would have been a great addition.

The ham was indeed good and it is quite unlike us not to have ham with mustard, pickles or some sort of relish.  It was good to have it 'plain' and enjoy the salty meatiness.

We were now onto prosecco with a little elderflower cordial, to toast finishing my first year of being a Uni student.  It has been incredibly hard to be a student as old as I am at 36, when I wasn't a great student in my youth,  Also double hard to do this part time around jobs, sometimes really intense jobs, and life.

Roast Beef, Remoulade and Onions

For this sandwich, the author of the blog suggested actually roasting some beef specially.  I scoffed.  But he was oh so right.  Even with fancy Sainsbury's pre-cooked and sliced beef, it was thin and not nearly as tasty.  Just means I have to do it all over again :-)

This was a really interesting sandwich.  Two powerful aspects: the remoulade (which is mayonnaise, dijon mustard, gherkins, capers, taragon and tumeric), which was delicious and frying some onions so they were hard, almost like sweet fries.  Looked pretty stunning too.

Stjerneskud (The Shooting Star)

Sadly we were pretty stuffed by now, but this one had to be made.  Really simple, lots of seafood wonderfulness.

I mean, seriously, could anything look more epic?!  It's gone beyond food!  Cannot comment on how it tastes as it has had to be refridgerated for lunch tomorrow!

The theme was great fun.  It's also a lovely idea for these warm evenings where you'd prefer not to cook something hot, but you would like something tasty and refreshing.

My design prototypes from the uni course

T-shirt based on the starting point of a hand gesture - this design is for a made up band called the Hand-Me-Downs.  I liked the idea that it might be a punk rock band, each hand representing an individual in the band.  The repetition of the design showed the whole, the band, and the signatures and different nail polish colours, showed the girls' individuality.

The starting point for this assignment was for us, as a group, to choose a problem in the world to 'fix'.  We chose the difficulty of transporting drinks back from a drive through restaurant.  My design developed from wanting to attach a device to the car seat head rest, and the monkey idea stemmed from how the 'arm' bracket looked a little like a rea arm.

My board game prototype began life as an idea of how to teach people/children about Body Mass Index (BMI) and making healthy choices in life.  There was a BMI slider to track within the game, and a happiness wheel.  Players moved round the board on quests, as well as picking up random event cards which often led to interaction with other players.  I wanted the game to teach balance; it's okay to have a burger if you balance it with going to the footie pitch, for example.

The problem I chose within the education theme of the final assignment was procrastination.  Through a series of iterations, I came up with several ways of busting procrastination, from the Pomodoro Technique, to being able to chunk down large tasks.  The final design prototype is for a website with integrates these different ideas.

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