The Birdies are featured in People Magazine + Treehugger’s gift guides for the hollydays!

So thrilled! Thank you to our good friends at Daily Grommet  for making this happen! And thank you for Nikki Carter for providing me with her copy, I couldn’t find a single one in town. And another thank you to Nikki for including our dear Birdies in her local New Orleans holiday gift picks!

People Magazine

Also so excited to be included in treehugger’s holiday gift guide for animal lover’s! Love this line from the writeup: “Swap the novelty bar for BirdProject Soap‘s black and white birds with a story.” Birds with a story, makes me happy to hear that.

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In other news, I have been busy re-making both soap and ceramic molds and I’m so happy to now be working with the amazing Brooke Cassady, she is making the ceramic birdies in her lovely St. Claude studio.

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Check out the ceiling in Brooke’s studio, isn’t it lovely! They are barge boards – each color is from a different ship. I love you New Orleans!

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Also thrilled to now be working in the civic center space in the Bywater, it is such a treat to be surrounded by such talented people & to share such a lovely space. New Orleans really feels like a special place at a special time, I’ve been reminded of how I felt when I first moved here [two years ago] lately. Like I’d bumped into Hemingway in Paris or Basquiat in New York in their glowing eras. For me, it’s an inspiring blend of social entrepreneurship, the many passionate and talented people, the enjoyment of life and good work, the magic city. I feel so lucky to have found the people and things that I have found here.

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Signing off to work on some items for a fellowship application, hope that you are well & had a lovely Thanksgiving! That reminds me, ps – I am now the proud owner of a picnic table, which is where my roommate Shoshana & I hosted Thanksgiving. It sits under a banana tree, which is also a real treat. My dear friend Alex helped me pick up the table from Lowe’s & assemble it in the backyard. This $80 purchase made me feel like I had reached some new level of adulthood but at the same time feel giddy like a small child souped up on candy & ice cream. It’s really the little things, I suppose.

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And check out this pie that Shoshana made! Apple + Heath bar streusel, YUM.

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xo’s from New Orleans!

Coastal Living & Etsy!

The birdies are on page 13 of April’s issue of Coastal Living! Very exciting!! I love the photo, is a thrill to see them in print, and this certainly also helped the birdies fly to new places, thank you so much for all of the wonderful interest and for bringing birdies to land at your home!

Also, the birdies have found a new nest on Etsy, I’m totally thrilled about that and am enjoying learning about the Etsy community and seeing all of the beautiful goods for sale! Am excited to see so many wonderful natural and handmade things, now I know where to shop! Also, BirdProject is now a member of Etsy Nola, who just put up a post about the birdies, thank you! And in Nola you can also now find the birdies at Longue View House & Garden Shop!

Busy-ness! The past few weeks have been sooo busy, let’s go ahead and make that the past 6 months haha! Still working to get the new slipcasting molds right w/ Nick over at New Orleans Tile, I am so grateful for his expertise. My mom has come for a visit this week and is helping me pack birdies, make deliveries around town, birdmaking etc. aaaand make me eat regular meals, get a haircut, ha some of the things that just fall by the wayside when you’re such a busy bird! We’ve had a few yummy breaks at the Creole Creamery, St. James Cheese Shop, & Elizabeth’s today, lawdy – soooo good! Dropped off another batch of ceramic birds at the amazing Emily’s to be soaped, I feel so lucky to have found her and am so thrilled to be working with her on this! : ]

Soon upcoming is the one year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon Spill, it’s incredible a whole year has passed. It’s also incredible how much more there is to do in the Gulf and how much is still unknown or yet undetermined. I hope that with the anniversary the attention brought will help spotlight the things in need and show that this is far from resolved.

More coming soon..

Tsunami, Bird Project at The Front, & Mardi Gras

Saturday evening the Birdies were part of an opening at The Front! The show is up through mid April so stop on by if you can. It was a lovely evening and great to get out and see people, seems I’ve been in birdland a lot lately! I’ve also started a new BirdBuilder materials sponsorship on the website and received the great news of a sponsorship which will build a lot of new nests [boxes & packaging] for this next flock of 1000! What an amazing help-thank you anonymous for now BirdBuilder!! I will create a sponsors page on the site and am open to your suggestions on rewards for sponsors, please let me know what you think!

Last week was Mardi Gras, which was my first experience with it, I actually took the day off on Mardi Gras day and wandered around the Marigny, totally loved it. It was a delightful mix of skeletons on bikes with a rubber chicken, a QTip queen, monkeys on banana bicycles, and pirates shooting beads from cannons. I know now how to be ready for next year and enjoy! After weeks of parades on St. Charles I grew really accustomed to the rumble of coolers and shoulders-full of beads clickety clacking by. It proved really interesting and I think gave testimony to skills learned while living in NYC, to be able to focus and work amidst the most hardcore revelry I’ve seen. There were crawfish boils next door, one of the biggest parties I’ve ever heard – I felt like it was in my house! But I was able to keep on plugging away, haha, felt pretty ridiculous at times. Next year I’ll be ready, I’m already planning my cloud/medusa snake head costume : ] After a few days of quiet in the neighborhood, St. Patty’s day parade appeared on Saturday morning, but I was already used to feeling like a part of the parades whilst working steadily in my workroom! I did play some Dick Dale as a force field of focus to combat the Lynard Skynard, top o’ the mornin’ to yas, and MC Hammer building pretty high volumes at 10 am.

The recent press in Huffington Post, MTV Act Blog, and burdr has brought some more interest for the birdies, last week I sent several orders to New Zealand and Australia! One member of this southern hemisphere flock will be part of an auction to help Christchurch quake victims, which I’m honored for, I’ll post more info as that comes along.

I’m finding it difficult to focus on anything other than making birds since Friday with the huge earthquake and resulting tsunami in Japan. They are truly soothing to make and allows your mind to wander in a healing trail of thoughts. So many killed, danger of nuclear explosions, Japan’s coast shifting 8′, the earth’s axis altered, cities that now look disturbingly like gutters, scale and normal relationships between objects shifted by the strength of water, and so many survivors in great need. I have far too many tabs and windows open on my poor overworked computer, most of them on the earthquake and tsunami. Reading stories of the survivors in smaller towns, many elderly and the realities of their needs slowing down the expected rescue process. It seems that in emergency city planning they rely on the best case scenario instead of the worst case scenario. I wasn’t here for Katrina, but have read and listened to many people’s accounts of how the realities of people’s needs vary so much from what is planned for. Will it take Japan five and counting years to recover?

If you are looking for places to contribute for disaster-relief efforts in Japan, I do have a couple recommendations: Architecture for humanity for rebuilding, a list on GOOD magazine, and a local effort via a poster design contest to build support for relief, http://tsunamiofsupport.org/. Thank you to those that are responding to the intense need for help in Japan, I have you in my thoughts and am sending positive vibes of strength and hope.

ps – If you’re in the mood for a happy ending, last night I watched a great movie while making birds – Desk Set, for me it’s up there with ‘It Happened One Night’ and it’s on Netflix watch instant.

Birdies at The Front

Spring it is-a-springin! Today’s breezes smell like green tea & hibiscus!

Brown box of bisqued birds bask and await glazing to bake again : ]

Mardi gras in the marigny : ]

i love his heartfelt expression, this is after some religious hate group stormed through the FQ.

St. Charles after, this was Saturday morning – so pre – actual Mardi Gras!

Watchoo talkin’ about Willis? This is a new ‘game’ at the deli, or rather ‘who dat’ mart down the street – isn’t this riciculous? I went in yesterday & was kind of blown away by the blatant lure and non-win-win situation.

35 birds down : [ But we are ok! : ]

This morning at about 9 am I turned onto Tchoupitoulas [Choppatoolahs] on my way to deliver some ceramic birdies to Emily w/ a quick stop at the Sprint store to investigate & hopefully fix the annoying persistent, consistent malfunction of my ‘smart’phone – the daisy wheel printer of the smart phone that is, and I’d prefer the daisy wheel. Anyhow! I turned right, heard the weirdest squealing noise coming towards me from around the bend ahead & thank you lightning quick reflexes – i love you! suddenly braked to avoid the car spiraling towards me. Jesus. What a way to start the day. The car continued to spiral in front of me like a clumsy, drunken ice skater [blades of glory?] – or an off-balance whirling gyroscope, the driver was totally unable to stop or right the car – when he finally turned it around and stopped [after what seemed like 10 incredibly slow minutes] and he slowly drove by me – his eyes were wild, I’ve never seen someone sooo scarily drunk or messed up on whatever it was & I used to live in Oregon Hill, RVA!

Everything slowed and numbly stretched as they do in these eerie moments where things suddenly hop tracks. I heard the one side of my brain trying to comprehend what was happening while the other side was in survival mode – no time for that processing stuff – brakes! And then: car is gone, pull over, see what happened. So i pulled into the big ole’ wal-mart parking lot and remembered the fast tinkling, crashing sound of birdies : [ 35 little fellas either now head-less, tail-less or too chipped to send out to people : [ I called the fuzz now processing that the driver was still driving and could hit someone else – hopefully they found him before hurting himself or anyone.

Still in surviving / maintaining brain mode – I drove on to the Sprint store where I had an appointment. Now late, I said sorry for being late – I just avoided a major car crash w/ a maniac driver. The woman behind the counter gave me a ‘mmhm’ – I guess they hear it all. The woman next to me in line nodded & ogled me empathetically. Corporate customer service what it is these days – they gave my pretty yet mostly un-functional phone an update and a ‘These types of phones.. since they are so poorly designed and are really difficult to repair and since you don’t have insurance, you would have to buy another one for the full price of $200.’ Really? Is that really how things work, this is ok to do as a company??!! It’s amazing how the planned obsolescence of objects corresponds so well with their limited warranty dates.

Leaving the sprint store I noticed the headlight on my car popped out & hanging by its cords due to the extreme braking.  : [

Onto Emily’s – at the end of Tchoupitoulas is the back of the Audubon Zoo. Shew. I stopped again and went through the box of birdies to handsign/inspect more closely for damage while sitting near the giraffes. Made me think of the TED talk I watched last night by Alain de Botton and why we need nature in our lives -as a need for escape from the human anthill, how calming it is to look at something non-human. The giraffes were really soothing.

Gotta take the downs with the ups, Tonto & I are ok & didn’t crash cars!! – that’s the important part and I sure do hope that the mystery driver didn’t hit anyone, will check the news! Voof – a trip that really should have taken an hour or two tops, has now sucked up more than half a day and I’m trying to get my focus back/process my weird morning. I stopped and got a cupcake to help right the day after dropping off the surviving birds at Emily’s. It helped a little : ] Ok off to start my morning again!! ps – i wish i had a hot tub. And a masseuse. I think I’ll just stay in my neck of the woods for the rest of the day, maybe make some birdies instead of the other things I set out to do.

after i scooped most of them back into the box, looks a lot like a crime scene doesn’t it! & ironically on top of new orleans on the map!

dear t is just fine!! stopped at audubon park & he likes the giraffe-watching too.

surviving birds re-aligned while sitting near the giraffes : ]

just knocked their poor heads & tails right off! : [

i got the ‘drunken leprechaun’ in honor of the possibly drunk fellow that very nearly collided with us at high, twirling speeds and the luck of not actually getting hit – thank you central nervous system, i really appreciate you! tasty cupcake – dark chocolate cuppycake w/ ‘irish channel cream cheese frosting’ named after the irish channel neighborhood here in Nola. C’mon lucky leprechauns! I’m thinking of this ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’, it’s so soothing too.

Exciting! Partnering with Gulf Restoration Network and…

Happy weekend!  On Friday, I met with Gulf Restoration Network to discuss a few details about an upcoming partnership for a new version of the birdies. The donations will go directly to oil spill clean up & clean water research! I’m so very excited about working with GRN on this as well as producing this new version, more on that coming soon… in the process of testing a few different options.

BirdProject had two great articles posted online yesterday – one in Huffington Post and the other in Hello New Orleans, both by Karen Dalton Beninato – thank you Karen! She found her bird at Nadine Blake in the French Quarter, Nadine started carrying the birdies last week – I love her beautiful shop! The birds are also now at Fair Folks & a Goat, who are in the Marigny and NYC, at the Museum Shop at NOMA, at Perch in San Francisco, and at Spruce – the first retail location.

Also in development is MATTER’s new product, due to launch in April – will share some of that info soon too : ]

This has been a busy month! Returned from the gandhiwarming weekend early Feb. & went straight into helping the Green Team at Tulane build our sculpture of trash ‘Get Wasted – with the Wave‘ which represented how much trash is generated on Tulane’s campus per year [3300 tons – 300 tons being recycled]. I’ve recently started working with the awesome folks at Civic Center, which I’m completely thrilled about, I love working with them and their wonderful projects! Have also entered a couple competitions this month.. fingers crossed! And been making birdies all the while, learning more about the business end of things [profit margins,excel sheets and the like], developing the new project for April mentioned previously, and continually learning how to do things better! : ] All in all – thrilling.

My friend Sherrie is visiting Big Sur this month and staying in this – NEST! Maybe I can get a BirdProject retreat in there sometime this summer? : ]

shelf of birdies in stock! : ]

calendar near my work table to keep the big picture in mind! [ in corner ]

a flock of a couple hundred birdies ready to bisque

new belt buckle – thank you megan! a prize from gandhiwarming weekend : ]

birdies on display at Nadine Blake’s!

a sweet lil’ darlin’ came in [think it was emily?] while setting up the display, i always take a pug sighting as good luck, thank you sweetie!

BirdProject Dream HQ – any BirdProject benefactors out there? : ]

redefining ‘bird dog’

a new delight! great egrets are nesting at audubon park! on our morning walks have seen them the past two days, beautiful!

This calls for a Dixie!!

Happy Valentine’s day or as I read earlier this morning on TBD – Generosity Day!! I had already planned to give the donation today from the first flock of birds to Gulf Restoration Network & IBRRC in the spirit of loving appreciation and then the post by TBD sweetened it!

Just made a donation of $1600 on behalf of BirdProject to GRN & IBRRC – thank you and many kisses to you BirdProject backers and supporters!!

Aaaaaand, while I was making the donation to IBRRC -‘bird is the word‘ came on the radio, a colinkadink or what?!!  How exciting and now, really for that Dixie!! Cheers and thank you : ]

Organizing, streamlining, learning..

I’m learning, testing methods to streamline my processes in the ceramics dept. to get these birdies flying through the making process a little more quickly.  Learning about glazes – some for dipping, some for brushing [most commercial glazes for brushing, but i really need to start dipping these, brushing is pretty time intensive!] It’s funny that ceramics has always surrounded me, but I’ve never really done it before.. Pratt has a strong history of slipcasting and porcelainware, Kohler as well – slipcasting ceramics for lavs, toilets, the arts & industry program there, friends have been ceramicists.. now that I’m making the birdies, I no longer have those resources around me!  But as I was talking with my friends Ezra and Salena who were visiting the past couple of days [YAY!!], I think it’s actually good for striking out in something new to not know anyone – then you really just have to call everyone and can’t have that excuse voice in your head telling you can’t do something yet because you’re waiting on that return telephone call from your friend who knows so and so…

Also still trying to figure if I should switch to slipcasting from the press molds, I met with a fellow from Tulane’s ceramics dept. the other day, he helped fill me in on the pros and cons of the different methods.. and glaze types and natural glazes.. he didn’t have recommendations for local resources though in the slipcasting dept.  Wondering if I should contact my alma maters..

a glazed flock, ready to bake

eventually i will need to get a stamp to make an impression while wet clay instead of hand signing/numbering each one..

i think they look so lovely in a group : ]

my sweets guarding the birdies!  the place i’m firing is on the way to emily’s so i stopped at audubon park w/ T to number and sign the birds, was a beautiful morning!

the spanish moss in the live oaks is so dreamy..

i treated myself to a lunch out, stopped by st. james cheese company to pick up a lil’ somethin’ somethin’ for my friends taking care of T while I’m in DC for gandhiwarmer and decided to splurge and get a grilled gruyere w/ caramelized onions! so YUM! tasted like french onion soup on bread, mmmm – if in nola – GO! it’s on Prytania

New version of birdies coming soon..

It’s been a busy couple of weeks after the holidays!! I hope you all are getting into the swing of things and that the year is starting off well for you.

Yesterday MATTER was included in an article in New Orleans City Business about the new business structure L3C [Limited Low Profit Liability company] where I found out that it is one of eight in Louisiana! Wow! Here is a link to the online version, although if you’re not a registered member you can read a pdf version here, click pdf under press on the MATTER website.

Other news, I am really excited about a new version of BirdProject soap coming out shortly…more details coming soon! : ]

I am still seeking a slipcaster here in Nola to advise me on how to switch to slipcasting for making the ceramic birdies, I’ve sped up my press mold process a bit, but would be great to get it more streamlined!!  I had hoped a good friend of mine who is a masterslipcaster could come to town to help, but he is obligated until mid-march.. if you have any local contacts, please do drop me a line!

And, I have started working with the Tulane Green Team – we have designed a sculpture made of trash and recyclables to promote awareness of waste on Tulane’s campus as well as offering solutions for reducing waste. We have an upcoming event [Get Wasted! haha, love the name!] where we install the sculpture [representative of amounts of trash generated on campus] and have contests for green giveaways, WTUL will broadcast, and we will make the WTUL deejay a suit of trash to wear for the day.

In the past week I also attended a few workshops on researching investors at Idea Village and went to a great pitch night at LaunchPad, learning more about the numbers.

Also, I’m thrilled to have my sweet lil pug with me here now, he’s such a great work buddie!! And I’m also totally grateful for the convection toaster oven my mom gave me over the holiday [mine walked the plank in the move]! I’d say it’s an entrepreneur’s best friend in the fast & easy yumfood prep world – it is awesome – thank you mutti!!

Coming up this weekend is gandhiwarmer!!!  This will be the second year and this time it will be in DC, you can find out more on that here.

I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend and I’m going to get back to work now making birds and watching TED talks and documentaries, with maybe a good romcom thrown in, netflix rules : ]

building another flock : ]

caught tito in action with yarnball in his mouth as a toy : ]

toaster oven breakfast pbj & butter, yummmm.

t.o. pita pizza – this was a great fridge cleanout: pita bread, leftover soup as sauce [sounds weird maybe, but it was delicious!] couscous, spinach, black beans, and pepper jack cheese & penzey’s parisian bonne herbes, yum makes everything taste goood

Kickstarter Backers’ Items Shipped!

Wow! What a trip to the P.O.!  I originally tried to set up a pick up, as it was 60 packages!  Since this was taking too long to arrange I went ahead and took them over in my beetle/pickup truck/sleigh – I did feel a liitle bit like Santa : ]  FYI – if you need to ship A LOT of packages, the post office will let you borrow a cart, thank goodness – it took a good 15 trips or so from workroom to car.. haha, I was imagining how I would do this in a Brooklyn post office.. fighting the line, not so happy post office worker at the window, putting a package in one at a time through the bulletproof glass window opening, the line building behind me, haha – it would have been a little trickier.

Here in NOLA, it went much easier, I went in, listened to the chat in front of me while in line to ask if a cart was available, the woman behind the counter very generously got me a cart to borrow, I rolled it – loudly, the singing wheels and hollow plastic body echoing through the halls of the p.o. and the courtyard parking lot, causing everyone to look and see what was this woman doing with this big, orange cart? why does she have so many packages? why is she so loud? Haha, luckily I am not that easily embarrassed nor mind if people goggle : ]

Two lovely ladies divided the work and we got it done really pretty quickly!  I am so excited to see pics/hear word of the birds’ new nests and am thrilled to have gotten the generous backers on kickstarter their backing rewards.  I was interviewed this week for an article on kickstarter locally and the reporter asked me what I would have done if Kickstarter didn’t exist.. I thought, great question! & am I really thankful for it being there.  The whole thing was a great learning experience and an exciting and truly fun way to raise money for your project.  It makes it really personal and rewarding and it’s also really hard to imagine it not being there.  I guess that’s part of an excellent idea or object if it fills a void so well with its validity.  So, thank you kickstarter backers and thank you kickstarter!!

As you receive your birds, please share photos of them in their new nests if you don’t mind.  I’ve really enjoyed seeing the photos and stories shared thus far!

a whole she-bang ready to fly out the door!

the stack builds!!

birdcoach!

Happy New Year!

I hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday!  This post will need to play some catch up!  December, Looking back at 2010, and Year Ahead –

December:

What a whirlwind!  As the pieces came together it was a wonderful exercise of organizing the parts to become a whole ready to fly out into the world.  Looking back on it, it’s quite amazing that they came together right before the holidays!  Coordinating ceramics [creating ceramic birds, firing, glazing, firing] transporting to emily for soap-making, packaging [did a packaging beak and tip of tail padding test on my birdie, wrapped a couple of times was ok], shipping [wow! a whole job in itself – i was a box scavenger, they were like gold, got them from whole foods, walgreens, neighbors, office depot, ha – developed eye scanners for small cardboard boxes], project blog posting took a backseat for a bit as I am a one woman show at this point..thus the lapse in posts.  The ceramics proved to be the most time consuming part of the puzzle, the press molds work wonderfully but simply take time and moving into larger scale will need to switch to slipcasting molds pronto!  Before the holidays, I shipped birdies and bags and washcloths and haiku postcards to more than half of the kickstarter backers [thank you amazing backers!!], a firm in Seoul, South Korea ordered some as gifts to their clients for New Year’s, Reserve-A-Bird giftcards, and I brought a few to the eco design shop Spruce – I brought them 10 and they sold seven in the first evening, wow!  Spruce also sold Reserve-A-Bird giftcards and started a waiting list as well!  I hope this wonderful response to BirdProject continues, thank you all for supporting the project and for helping to raise awareness about the BP oil spill disaster.

Looking back at 2010:

Who knew? : ]  As I quickly packed my bags to head to mom’s for the holidays, having taken my last beetle full of packages, stuffed in like clowns in the old vw ads, to send off into the world from the post office, oh how I wish I could send them piggyback via carrier pigeon!.. I sat slightly hallucinating, ha! from being a birdbot for weeks and weeks, lack of rest and odd, quickly prepared meals – all gratifyingly so, not whining a bit, i loved this entire process – so I sat my beloved worktable [portable sawhorses & a piece of plywood, yes!] surrounded by BirdProject goods and in my new home of three months and thought… holy shit a lot has happened, it’s like years packed into less than a half of a year, it has been so dense.

Looking back at the path behind me, and at the past few months – it’s amazing what can happen when you have the time and energy to put behind something.  I think I’d been looking for this Something for a while, I had grown disinterested in making things for the sole sake of making them, I thought too much about them sitting in the landfill afterwards.  I was looking for something that was worthy of development, something that.. well, mattered, sorry for the company pun.  When working on something no matter [really, again? : ] what it is, you pour your heart and soul and time into it and I wanted that Something to be something that I really cared about spending that precious time on and heartfelt energy into.  When this idea came, I knew it was IT and it had to happen fast because of the urgency of the oil spill.

Looking back I can see the bits and parts of my life that have given me the experience to work on this project and that is a very tranquil moment to sit with.  I have done a lot of different things and sometimes at the time they could have seemed random [not that there is anything wrong with that, i like it – at moments though you think to yourself, why am i doing this?].  I enjoyed being able to see in hindsight the different points in time, and experiences/skills gained that connected to form these birds and this project, in sending them back into the world, almost as a little stippling.  To learn from the past to bring forward with you – I think the key is, follow your heart and your instinct and try!  Also, I think, don’t rush, take your time and find your speed to find it in the way most meaningful to you.  Everyone has different speeds – listen to yours whether fast or slow and find your process or the thing that makes you go.  And if you don’t succeed right away, try again and don’t try to be perfect – that is inhuman, besides the learning and the interest is really in the trying and the finding.

Year Ahead:

Wow, so now there’s a whole calendar year ahead minus just a few days so far!  I have a few lists of things to catch up on, things to occur in the near and far timelines, and new/current ideas to pursue & develop.  I am really appreciative of all that has happened in the past few months and would like to thank everyone who has helped in this, I could not have done it without you, and I am so very grateful for your help and your collaboration!  I am excited to continue and develop current collaborations and see where the birdies will fly!  I am also excited to meet new people and ideas, find dreams to open up and form new relationships with wonderful people to make things happen.  Wow, at the end of last year, someone introduced me as “This is Tippy, she makes things happen” I’d really like to live up to that statement, I greatly appreciated it and was thrilled to be introduced as such.  So here we are, to a Happy twentyeleven, am looking forward to great things happening, and I am also really looking forward to making contributions to IBRRC and Gulf Restoration Network via your support of BirdProject, that will be the best!!

More coming soon!