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27 out of 101 Design Basics or how to Design a Service

Homework no. 27

27        27a

Saturdays video about the DabbaWalas – Amazing Meal Delivery in India let me thought about service and what you can learn from the dabbawalas. It is really amazing how successful they manage. We were asked to think about service design and reflect back what we did during our Kitchen Stories’ week. We were asked:


I loved to bake since I was very young and though I learned to cook and I also too love it, my specialty is still baking. During my work in a boarding school we had an open day each year where the students demonstrated their skills. The picture below is when I did the backing for a branch office.

Cake Parade


For a while I could imagine running a coffee shop and offering homemade cakes. I did and still bake the birthday cakes for my god childs and friends and where often asked by the other guest if I would be willing to offer that as a service. Maybe I should have offered that service, but it’s still possible, you never know 😉



26 out of 101 Design Basics or the Design of a Sacher Torte

Homework no. 26

Design 101,
Design 101,


Todays task is to bake a Sacher Torte. A cake that consists of two layers of dense chocolate sponge with a thin layer of apricot jam in the middle, coated with dark chocolate icing. I searched my cook books until I came up with a recipe, actually I came up with about five recipes and decided for the one you see below.

26aDid you know who and how the Sacher Torte was invented? No, then you might want to read the story from Franz Sacher and how he ended up to design a desert for Prince Metternich.

Sometimes pressure can open undreamt-of possibilities, but sometimes it blocks good ideas. Well, considering the unbroken worldwide success from the Sacher Torte it seems that in Franz Sacher case pressure worked fine for him.

Fortunately, I had less pressure, though I messed up the recipe a couple of times and it came out far to dense, less than a sponge more like a stone. I definitely wanted to avoid this, but it came out pretty good. The little people on top of the cake, my pandas are less creative, but you cannot be good in everything 😉

Sacher Torte Presentation

Sacher     P1020766     Sacher_people1

To remember


23 – 25 out of 101 Design Basics – More Kitchen Stories

Homework no. 23 – 25

23_101     24_101     25_101

This week is devoted to the kitchen and we are asked to cook a meal three times.

  1. for myself
  2. for three guest
  3. for my Mom or a very close friend

I’ll have to admit that my guest will come next week and I did not cooked my meal three times in a row, though I cooked at least three times and had guest at my house. Design 101 is a pretty demanding course, though the most interesting I ever joined, and it’s not easy to complete each days task. Although we are asked to spent just on hour on each homework, it is almost impossible to achieve, considering that you not only accomplish the task, but also connect with others which is a very important part. Regognizable is the fact, that the number of activie participants greatly dropped. I’ll give you some numbers. Each day you have a homework page where we are asked to upload our homework. During the first week we had more than 90 pages full of posts from participants, each page containing about 10 posts. That would mean 900 active participants, but still about 26.000 lurkers, considering that we started with 27.000 participants. Since week three numbers decreased and depending on the homework less than 10 pages, hence less than 100 people actively post their homework, confirming somehow the high MOOC dropout rates. Well, so far I am following my own advise not to become a MOOC dropout 😉

Kitchen Ingredients

On Thursday we were asked to present the ingredients we need to cook our meal. Inspired by the great ideas from my peers I came up with this idea.


Kitchen tools

Same recipe, different task this time to present the kitchen tools. I wanted to follow the idea I had with the ingredients, but the pot was a little to heavy to achieve that.



Food arranging


I like to please my Mum and she likes especially my baking. Hence I changed the task a little and served her the Sacher Torte with coffee.


More Kitchen Stories


In my last post I announced to tell you why you’ll always find me in the kitchen at parties, for several reasons.

  • because of my cooking skills I am often asked to help out in the kitchen which I don’t mind
  • in the kitchen you are at the source, so why give that up 😉
  • I’m not what you call a party animal and I love to retreat in the kitchen.
    I still remember that I voluntary put my hands up to do the dishes, simply because I had problems to follow the conversation of my American friends and hence escaped in the kitchen. I still help out in the kitchen, not because of communication problems, but for the reasons above. Funnily I made a real impression with my (in)voluntary work in the kitchen at my American friends house. It’s always a funny (kitchen) story to tell and to see how things started more than 14 years ago.

22 out of 101 Design Basics – Kitchen stories

Homework no. 22

One whole week around the kitchen, kitchen tables and kitchen tools. Today is quiz day and we have to get ready for the week. This time we’ll have to pick a recipe which we have to cook three times this week. One time for ourself, the second time for three guest and the third time for our Mom or a very close friend. Sounds interesting, but I’ll need to choose wisely as I’ll eat this dish three times this week. I thought about a soup. A soup warms up your heart and is good for your soul, like Chicken soup for your soul by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen.

I already love this week, finally a topic where I feel able, as long as I don’t have to draw a sketch from the food I cooked  😉

Design 101,

Design 101,

Question of the day: Cooking as a design exercise?

Why do we cook this week and what does cooking have to do with design?

Design 101,

Design 101,

My Kitchen Story
The kitchen is the most important place in a house, a place to meet and cook. As a kid I loved to window-shopping on a famous kitchen supplier. I always said that my house needs to be built around the kitchen and I always wished to have the cooking area in the middle. Well, when I finally managed to afford a small town house, I had to live with the given small rooms, but thanks to a good kitchen designer I managed to realize my wishes. Here two pictures from my kitchen before and in the final stage, though the stove is still missing in the second picture.

DSC01654      DSC02352

Kitchen song

The song from Jona Lewie (or the Ikea version 😉


was a reference in the letter which reminds me on another kitchen story, but that will have to wait for my next post.

So stayed tuned 🙂

21 out of 101 Design basics – Silence

Homework no. 21

Design 101,

Design 101,

Before you ask, no this is not an error but on purpose 😉 I was quite irritated myself watching the video and seeing mainly a white screen. The letter was mainly blank as well, as seen in the postcard.

Silence is …


… to drift in a lake, watching the clouds in the sky. You only hear the muffled sounds below the water, blocking the loud noise from our/my everyday life. Looking forward for the next season.

Wonderful relaxing 🙂

18 and 19 out of 101 Design Basics – DIY Notebooks

Homework no. 18

Today, we have to make a second notebook with a stitched binding.

Design 101,

Design 101,

Design 101,

Design 101,

Question of the day: A series of solutions?

Unfortunately, the video showed how to accomplish the stitched binding too quick, so it was not comprehensible enough. The manual provided was not really helpful either and the video’s I found always showed more sophisticated stitched bindings. A day later I finally found a page Bookbinding 101: Japanese Four-Hole Binding that is easy understandable. Well, I nevertheless managed to finish my notebook, though I am not sure whether the binding is like shown in the video, but that was my solution. However, I haven’t found a solution yet, how to accomplish the homework within an hour. Not sure how much time I needed to finish this second notebook, but it was at least 2 up to 3 hours.


Homework no. 19

Today, we are asked to make another notebook. The first one was about proportions, the “Golden Ration“. The second one was about binding. The third one will be about the paper.

Design 101,

Design 101,

Question of the day: How to convey meaning with materials?

Design 101,

Design 101,

Yesterday, I already used a paper with a grass design. Talking about notebooks, papers and other material, I’ll need to tell you the story about Michaels – an art and crafts store. Summer 2003 I visited my friends in the U.S. in North Carolina. I stayed there for about four weeks and finally on my last day on the way to the airport my friend took me to Michaels. It was like wonderland, I loved it very much, because though we have crafts store here in Germany, the stores are not so big and offer not such a great assortment. I could have strangled my friend, because we had just limited time and then we had to leave. I had to wait another year until I returned a year later and let me tell you I spend hours and days in that store and bought lots of material and books there. That’s where I found the idea for todays notebook with a basic pamphlet stitch.

Design 101,

Design 101,

Design 101,

Design 101,

You cannot touch the book, but the quality of the paper that I chose for this notebook feels pretty good 😉 I used a laid paper with a hammer blow structure and 90g/m² paperweight. A Christmas paper wrap functions as decoration.  I could possible use this notebook as Advent calendar, only that I use it as a 24 day diary – My Christmas countdown.


17 out of 101 Design Basics – The Golden Ratio

Homework no. 17

Today, you will make a notebook, a simple notebook, like the Instant-Book. I introduced a video tutorial how to make that book at the beginning of the week, calling the book Mini-Book.ratio
One constraint: your notebook must be made according to the golden proportions. This means that the ratio between your notebook’s short and long side should be of 1.618.

Design 101,

Design 101,

Question of the day: Measuring? Measuring what? Why measuring?

Design 101,

Design 101,

Bild1The collection of books presented in the Design 101 MOOC is amazing and an inspiration. However, I really wonder how quick some of the participants finished some really sophisticated books, except they used the same trick as I and present books that I made quite a while ago when I attended a bookbinding course.

Though both books are from different size they roughly correspond with the Golden Ration. The first book is a fanfold book, easy to make and good for students who quickly achieve some good results. The paper for the cover is made with a special coloring technique.  genaehtThe second book is made from scratch, even the stitching on top is handmade. Using this website to calculate the Golden Ratio, I found out the DIN A4 the size of the book correspond almost with the Golden contrary to the US Letter.

Bookbinding is a great hobby and this week let me think of it, taking another course to refresh my skills.