Beginnings: The Origin of Tinking Turtle

As we bring 2013 to a close, it’s time to take a look back at the path we’ve taken to get where we are this year.  The holiday season is often a time spent with friends and family, each with their own special traditions and holiday moments.  For my family, one of our favorite traditions is setting up a model train layout in the garage, all decorated up for Christmas, and spend hours driving the trains through our small town.  In this town, it’s important for everything to have a name, from the grocery store named after my younger brother to the boarding house and bakery.  This has been a tradition that Jennifer and I have carried on through the years.

Trains and naming things have found their way into our lives outside of just the holidays.  In September 2011 after settling in Washington, DC we embarked on our first long-distance train journey to the windy city of Chicago.  We travled for several days, including our first overnight on the train.  While in Chicago, we visited Loopy Yarns. Jennifer was just setting out on building the framework for the business that has become Tinking Turtle and, as a stitcher, she couldn’t visit the city without stopping by the store.  During the trip, the topic of discussion kept circling back to Loopy Yarns, the name, and if we had a store, what it would be named.

Over a delicious dinner of Knockwurst, Wiener Schnitzel, and Sauerkraut at The Berghoff, we began to bat around some funny names for the various buildings in our own model train town, with a yarn bent.  Grabbing the closest piece of paper at hand, a class schedule from Loopy Yarns, we recorded all of the names that came to mind.

Given that we were now living in Maryland, the turtle as a mascot came to mind, and then playing off of the alliteration, tinking was a natural fit.  I’ll confess that at that point in time I had no idea what tinking even was, but it sounded cool.  Ye Olde Tinking Turtle was originally going to be a combo yarn store/tavern, perhaps influenced by the German atmosphere, however it was a name that stuck with us.

Tinking Turtle was not the initial name for the company; Jen was contemplating running it under a company named after herself. Unfortunately however, when she was looking to register a trade name and website, there were several other businesses with similar sounding names.  Falling back to what was originally an amusing name for a train town pub, Tinking Turtle has stayed with us, becoming the business that it is today.

It’s My Birthday!

I know, Weight Watchers and Pie? Read on.


It’s my birthday, and right now I’m at the boyfriend’s family farm, and probably sleeping in.  (I scheduled this post before I left, because I’m just that considerate).

210So, as I might have mentioned before, I’m a member of Weight Watchers.  I’ve lost 50 lbs on the program in total, 17, since I’ve moved to Maryland.  I go through cycles where I’m really successful, and other times where I’m just going through the motions.  I try to be kind to myself when things don’t go right, and not excuse my successes.  (I have a habit of saying thinking, well it was just a pound.  I could have lost more if I tried.  Really, how silly is that?  A pound is a big deal).

A big part of my success is the Boyfriend, who stands in the background cooking me delicious dishes, cheering me on, and in general walking the fine line between helping me too much and not helping me at all.  (That’s hard.)
One of the ways he does this is by setting up rewards.  I’m highly susceptible to positive reinforcement.  The rewards don’t have to be that big.  My latest reward was supposed to be a bikeride to Mt. Vernon, where we were going to have a southern-style picnic which would include lemonade, fried chicken, potato salad, and strawberry-rhubarb pie.  Lest you think that a food reward seems counter-intuitive for a weight-loss program, let me point out the ride to Mt. Vernon is 20 miles.  And I would have had to bike back after I’d eaten pie.

Unfortunately, on Saturday when we were supposed to go, it rained.

A lot.

So instead, we went and picnicked under one of the porticos to the EPA building (near Federal Triangle).  Then we went to the American History Museum and the Natural History Museum.

Not quite what we were planning, but we’re adaptable.

Yes, Purple Potatoes.  How Cool is that?  It makes them look so much more nutritious.

The point to this story (other than bragging about Boyfriend’s pie making skills) is that I persuaded the boyfriend to use purple potatoes in the potato salad.

Let me just say, you haven’t had a southern style picnic until you’ve thrown it on it’s head by using purple potatoes.

It was the best.

Anybody interested in the purple potato recipe?