Behold the bodkin


There’s nothing as pleasing as using the right tool for a job. Take the bodkin.

First, isn’t bodkin a fantastic word? It’s so…medieval-y. And it feels good in the mouth. I checked the OED on it, and it is a very English word, but its origins are obscure. It used to refer to several things: a dagger (he himself might his quietus make / With a bare bodkin), a long hair pin, an awl, and the meaning it has retained through today: a needle-like instrument with a blunt knobbed point, having a large (as well as a small) eye, for drawing tape or cord through a hem, loops, etc.  

It also had another meaning, which is totally fun:  transf. (colloq.) A person wedged in between two others where there is proper room for two only; esp. in phr. to ride or sit bodkin .  How wonderful is it that there is a word for being that person uncomfortably wedged between two others in the back seat of a small car (or  in the olden days, a coach)?  I refer to this state as “riding the hump” but “riding/sitting bodkin” is so much better. Modern usage would be: “I’ve got short legs, so I’ll ride bodkin.”

Let’s make 2015 the year “riding bodkin” came back into the language. Come on, people!

Uh…where was I? Oh yes. The sewing bodkin.

I had to buy a bodkin as part of my kit for sewing class–they insisted we have it for drawing elastic through casings and whatnot. But oh my goodness, this thing has been such a happy little miracle around the house for pulling errant drawstrings back through sweatpants and swim trunks and things like that.  Yes, you can use a big safety pin, but somehow I never have a big safety pin on hand. Before the bodkin, I often accomplished the task with a small pin, or nothing at all. It is possible to shove a naked cord through by force of will, it just takes hours.

But I tell you my friend, if you have a bodkin, it takes about 10 seconds to fish a cord through a garment.

There are a few different models of bodkins, though they are all essentially large blunt needles. Mine is extra fancy in that one end opens up, like a pair of tweezers. A ring on the needle’s shaft slides down to lock the arms in place with a firm grip. This allows you to hold onto the tape or cord which you are drawing without piercing it with a hole. The opposite end has a big needle eye for pulling thread and string.

I love my shiny little bodkin.

Saturday Tweets: Toilet Hacks, Egg Laying Charts and Food Porn

2015 Resolutions

It’s time for the annual confessional: did we stick to our resolutions from last year?

And in this same post we’ll state our 2015 goals for the record, so we can take this same walk of shame next year.

(And is it just me or does 2015 not seem like a very futuristic date? Where is my jet pack?)

Erik’s 2014 resolutions:

1) Finish hardscaping the backyard, grow more vegetables.

Sort of a fail here. Some work was done but there’s more to do. In the last hours of 2014 I did manage to finish a cool hexagonal deck by the chicken coop.

2) Perfect a 100% whole grain sourdough bread

Success! I can make a reliably good whole grain boule. Now I’ve got to write up the recipe!

3) Take a class —which involves a a trip

Nope, unless going to the Heirloom Exposition in Santa Rosa counts.

4)Good health

Success! Paying for a few sessions with my Y’s rehab specialist have paid off.

Kelly’s 2014 resolutions:

1) Make shoes in 2014

I did this!

2) Make or buy a new bed.

I did not do this. It remains a conundrum. And in the meanwhile, the lumps in our old mattress have shifted or something so it’s not as uncomfortable as it was when I made the resolution. In other words, there’s no urgency behind this one right now, but it will come up again. (For reference, see this post from 2013)

3) Learn to surf.

I’ve been making a little progress. I’m not a surfer yet by any means, but I’m getting good at paddling and spinning the board, but need to work on speed and timing. I  need to spend more concentrated time in the water this coming year.

So, what is my score? About 60%?

Next up: resolutions for 2015

A joint project for Erik and Kelly:

Refurbishing the kitchen: new paint, new floor, cleaning everything up. We’ve been putting this off, and it needs to be done this year. Preferably in the first quarter of the year.

Erik’s 2015 resolutions

  1. Write a whole grain ebook. Now that I can make a decent whole grain loaf it’s time to see if I can teach it.
  2. Take an electronics class. I’ve built circuits in the past but I can’t say that I fully understand how they work. I’ve also fooled around with an Arduino, but I need to deepen my knowledge.
  3. Take a woodworking class. I’ve got some basic skills, but it’s well past time to get better at carpentry.
  4. End internet addictions. No more procrastination by idly checking Facebook, Twitter etc.
  5. Athletic challenge. I’d like to go to the national fencing tournament in San Jose this year. But I need something else. Maybe a long run or backpacking trip.

Kelly’s 2015 resolutions

  1. Produce the uniform. The uniform idea came up during 2014, and I’ve been learning how to sew, and now have a machine, so there’s no excuse not to be modeling my uniform for all you folks sometime this year.
  2. Design and produce a ceramic oil lamp
  3. Take up archery again. This is not a very specific goal, but I’d be happy if I got my equipment in order and went out stump shooting a few times before the weather gets hot.
  4. I’m committing to daily exercise, and exercising more than once a day–breaking up my exercise into shorter intervals so I don’t have those sedentary days where I sit on my rear all day long.
  5. I’m also committing to limiting my internet access to two daily sessions. No more checking email throughout the day, no more going on Facebook “for just 5 minutes.”
  6. And finally, I commit to meditating quietly for a few minutes the first thing every morning.

031 New Year’s Resolutions

vintage new years postcard

On the last podcast of the year, we review our 2014 New Year’s resolutions (Erik’s and Kelly’s)–what worked and what didn’t. Then we look at the goals we’d like to achieve in 2015. Lastly, we head out into the backyard to see the secret project Erik has been working on while Kelly was away for Christmas.

If you want to leave a question for the Root Simple Podcast please call (213) 537-2591 or send an email to [email protected]. You can subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store and on Stitcher. The theme music is by Dr. Frankenstein. Additional music by Rho. A downloadable version of this podcast is here.