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I’m always excited when I get beautiful photography, great ideas or design inspiration to share… imagine then when I have all three?!  Think the kind of happiness a puppy has when its parents come home!

 

Clever Melbourne(ish) souls – Katie Marx, Phil @afloralfrenzy, amazing photographer Kara Roselund and furniture maker Greg Hatton recently hosted a Kinfolk dinner at Butterland.  [Small digression first - I challenge you to click on any of the links and not have an emotional response to the work they do.  Their posts on instagram often take my breath away.]

 

Anyway, so, the thing I loved most when I saw the photography was just HOW accessible these table decorations are.  I’ve actually already used the idea for a dinner party of my own (thanks Katie :-))!  All you need to do is grow nasturtiums (Joost planted some on my edible balcony a year ago and despite forgetting to water them they keep growing)!  Nasturtium leaves taste really peppery.  So, a few piles of salt and some jars with nasturtiums and you’ve got the seasoning sorted.

To create the look:
* Nasturtium seeds
* Jam Jar Tealights (Box with 2 Jars + 8 candles  OR Bulk Box of 60 Jars + candles)
* 15cm Solid Beeswax Pillar Candles (Individual OR discounted in a Bulk Box of 6)
* 20cm Solid Beeswax Pillar Candles (Individual OR discounted in a Bulk Box of 6)

Of course it also helps if you have a former butter factory.

I’ll break from tradition and shut up now!  Enjoy the photographs

 

Cate xx

 

 

Kinfolk dinner by Katie Marx, A Floral Frenzy, Greg Hatton, photographer Kara Rosenlund at Butterland with Queen B beeswax candles

Kinfolk dinner by Katie Marx, A Floral Frenzy, Greg Hatton, photographer Kara Rosenlund at Butterland with Queen B beeswax candles

Kinfolk dinner by Katie Marx, A Floral Frenzy, Greg Hatton, photographer Kara Rosenlund at Butterland with Queen B beeswax candles

Kinfolk dinner by Katie Marx, A Floral Frenzy, Greg Hatton, photographer Kara Rosenlund at Butterland with Queen B beeswax candles

Kinfolk dinner by Katie Marx, A Floral Frenzy, Greg Hatton, photographer Kara Rosenlund at Butterland with Queen B beeswax candles

Kinfolk dinner by Katie Marx, A Floral Frenzy, Greg Hatton, photographer Kara Rosenlund at Butterland with Queen B beeswax candles

Kinfolk dinner by Katie Marx, A Floral Frenzy, Greg Hatton, photographer Kara Rosenlund at Butterland with Queen B beeswax candles

Kinfolk dinner by Katie Marx, A Floral Frenzy, Greg Hatton, photographer Kara Rosenlund at Butterland with Queen B beeswax candles

Kinfolk dinner by Katie Marx, A Floral Frenzy, Greg Hatton, photographer Kara Rosenlund at Butterland with Queen B beeswax candles
Kinfolk dinner by Katie Marx, A Floral Frenzy, Greg Hatton, photographer Kara Rosenlund at Butterland with Queen B beeswax candles

Kinfolk dinner by Katie Marx, A Floral Frenzy, Greg Hatton, photographer Kara Rosenlund at Butterland with Queen B beeswax candles

Kinfolk dinner by Katie Marx, A Floral Frenzy, Greg Hatton, photographer Kara Rosenlund at Butterland with Queen B beeswax candles

Kinfolk dinner by Katie Marx, A Floral Frenzy, Greg Hatton, photographer Kara Rosenlund at Butterland with Queen B beeswax candles

Kinfolk dinner by Katie Marx, A Floral Frenzy, Greg Hatton, photographer Kara Rosenlund at Butterland with Queen B beeswax candles

 

I absolutely love reading and I love learning.  Occasionally I come across something that makes me stop mid stride.  It could be something really mind bending or poignant.  Or writings so raw you sometimes feel like you’re reading their diary.  I subscribe to my fair share of food blogs (try the Life Changing Bread… you won’t look back!) and often I’m reading about people who are creating their dream life (her backstory, which seems to have been removed from the blog, is fabulous), following their dreams or writers who tell a great yarn.

This morning I was reading a blog I love.  Sophie from Local is Lovely interviewed Hannah from The Perthville Pantry.  Reading her 5 lessons/insights for people thinking about starting a branded meat or small agribusiness  how they want to live each day summed up EXACTLY what I would tell people (although I have struggled in the past to put it so succinctly).  Read and ponder.  It’s worth the few moments of your life.  It is also a manifesto for the Queen B story.

What are five lessons/resources/insights you’d share with young farmers like yourself, who are thinking about starting a branded meat or small agribusiness themselves?

  1. Determine your passion and build an enterprise around that.  It’s a joy to work if you love what you do.
  2. Think big and question mainstream wisdom.  Do your own research.
  3. Back yourself.  Forget about what you think others think of you.  You can stand tall if you stay true to your own values.
  4. Write down your dreams and aspirations.  You’ll be amazed at what comes to fruition.
  5. Continue to learn. Read, attend courses and network.
Perthville Pantry post from Local is Lovely blog

Hannah from Perthville Pantry

I emailed Sophie this morning to see if she would mind me sharing and, being the sweet soul she is she said go right ahead.  She also gave me permission to share the Gummy Pigs recipe (with raw honey)!

Gummy Pigs

3 tablespoons grassfed gelatine
1/3 cup lemon and lime juice
2 to 3 tablespoons raw honey
1 to 2 slices of fresh beetroot for the pink piggy colour

Whisk lemon and lime juice, honey and gelatine in a sauce pan until there are no lumps.  Heat over low heat until melted.  Add the fresh beetroot and remove once the desired colour is obtained.  Pour mixture into silicone piggy moulds and pop in the freezer for 10 minutes.  Remove from the moulds and enjoy.

Here are the gummy pigs

Gummy pig recipe from Perthville Pantry on Local is Lovely blog

Gummy Pigs – Perthville Pantry

I’m going to see if I can find me bee moulds and perhaps try pineapple? or turmeric!!

Happy reading (and cooking if you’re so inclined)!

Cate xx

One of the wonderful things about having a Sunday/Monday as your weekend is that you don’t have to go to work on Monday’s.  It’s a great time to catch up on things when they’re quiet.

Today I’ve promised myself I’ll clear my inbox, which seems to be never-ending because I keep getting distracted :-).  One lovely distraction was a beautiful photograph sent to me by stylist, Meagan O’Donoghue from The Style Palette Co.  I’m always amazed by the talents of our customers.  You’re really quite an extraordinary bunch going about your lives choosing to make a difference.  It shouldn’t surprise me given what we do, but it does and it is a constant delight.

Anyway, Meagan took a gorgeous photograph of our Mini-Marilyn Bee Light holders with a couple of Bee Lights.  And the thing that struck me as I was deleting volumes of administrative emails was just how simple the candles and the holders are but how nature is so beautiful that you don’t need to fussy it up.

brass candleholder with pure beeswax taper dinner candles

Mini-Marilyn brass candle holders with Bee Lights

So in the spirit of making it a wonderful day, we’re doing a Monday offer today - 20% off Brass Mini-Marilyn candleholders and 20% off the Pack of 10 Bee Lights.  It’s spontaneous and open until midnight tonight only.

I can say hand on heart that our Bee Lights will blow your socks off when they’re lit.  They are the ultimate testament to the brilliance of nature (and why we are so thorough with our wick testing)!!  They burn for 3 or so hours each (that’s several nights of lighting them during dinner from every candle) and they don’t drip if they are out of a breeze.

And just in case you don’t think that I practice what I preach, here’s a view from where I’m sitting right now!!  I did consider replacing the 2 in the background with new candles but decided that it was better just to be completely authentic.  This is how I stay calm on a Monday in the face of 553 unread emails!

I hope you have a wonderful Monday.

Over and out.

Cate xx

light a candle to keep your brain calm and relaxed on a busy day

“It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness” Chinese Proverb

For years when I’ve need a special gift, I’ve personalised a candle but I couldn’t work out a way of viably offering the service.  Well, I worked it out! Need a gift for that impossibly stylish friend that you’re always a little nervous to buy for? Looking for something to give in that situation where words are impossible (I particularly find this so when someone is grieving and words just seem completely superfluous but you want to show that you care)? Uninspired by the “off the shelf” options for that special occasion that you want a really memorable gift for? … allow us to personalise a candle for you. To start with we’re launching personalised candles with a range of beautiful quotes – with the quote on one side of the candle and a personal message from you to your friend on the other side – and with number candles that are perfect for special birthdays (because we’re always being asked for them)!  Imagine giving a gift of light personalised by a bona fide artistic person, armed with a paint brush, on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.  No laser printing going on here folks, this is the real McCoy! Tell us your favourite quote (it doesn’t need to be one of these) in the comments field below.  We’ll hold a vote next week and if it’s voted #1 we’ll send you a candle with the winning quote on it. Each quote is one entry – multiple quotes, multiple entries!

a personalised gift to say I love you, australian made, hand painted, beeswax candle

“At one glance I love you with a thousand hearts.”

cheer up gift, maori proverb, personalised candle gift

“Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you”

Personalised candle, eleanor roosevelt quote, friendship gift

“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints on your heart.”

baptismal candle, christening candle, personalised baptismal candle, personalised naming day candle, personalised christening candle

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”

personalised candles, personalised gift, inspirational quote, unique personal gift

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

inspirational quote, personalised gift candle, graduation gift candle

“Accept your path with its many twists and turns… the adventure is in the journey not the arrival.”

I'm sorry gift, how to say I'm sorry, personalised I'm sorry candle

“Real friends are those who when you’ve made a fool of yourself don’t feel that you’ve done a permanent job!”

personalised birthday gift, unique birthday present, inspirational quote

“It’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years”

Personalised gift, friendship gift, personalised candle, unique gift

“Good friends are like stars… You don’t always see them but you know they’re there”

personalised candle, inspirational quote, happy flame beeswax candle,

Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers “grow, grow”

personalised candle, bereavement gift, mourning, gift instead of flowers, gift for grieving

“A luminous light remains where a beautiful soul has passed.”

Personalised gift, gift to say I love you, anniversary present, personalised candle

“A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous”

personalised gift, wedding anniversary gift, wedding gift, australian made, hand made

“A happy marriage is a long conversation which always seems to short”

For a special birthday, choose from our range of celebratory numbers – we’ll paint the numbers on one side of the candle and a personalised message from you on the other for a truly unforgettable gift.  You’ll be lighting up their life for years to come Personalised birthday candle, hand painted, unique memorable Australian made gift Personalised first birthday present, Australian made beeswax candle personalised birthday candle personalised birthday candle, australian made, hand painted, happy flame beeswax candles personalised birthday candle, australian made, northern light beeswax candles personalised birthday candle, beeswax birthday candles, bumble beeswax candle personalised birthday candle, queen b, bumble beeswax candle from northern light hand painted birthday candle with a personalised message and a light brighter than the northern light personalised birthday gift candle personalised gift for birthday, bee created light from Queen B beeswax candles     I include the photograph below to show you how the candles burn (i.e. down inside their hand-painted wrap leaving your personalised message intact).  Unfortunately friends don’t usually send me photographs of their candles burning :-)

unique, sustainable, Australian made corporate gifts hand made in Sydney

Personalised candle done for Joost

Looking forward to hearing your favourite quotes and lighting up the lives of your favourite people. Cate xx

I chose this week’s love letter for two reasons.  Firstly because I love someone who goes and does their own research and then forms their own opinion and secondly because I happened to have another call from a concerned customer this week about this very issue and so the email was timely.

As I said in return, “I get so torn between “rising above it” (which a lot of people espouse and which makes a lot of sense to me) and then being so angry and incensed that people are being completely misled and the injustice of it all (to our business, our staff and our customers).  Whilst you seem to have read through it, I hear about and meet people regularly who are reading it on a superficial level (because they’re busy) and they’re buying it.”

“Hi Cate,

I just read your post on chlorine and then located and checked out the offending website to sate my curiosity.  What an “ode to an ego” it seemed, all the way through.  The person in question is quite good at sounding as though he knows what he is talking about, at a superficial level – by subtly misdirecting the reader.  Very calculated.  It seems disturbingly personal – and directed at you.
I also felt the fuss about candle painting was sour grapes –  he offers nothing as sophisticated as your decorative pillars.  It is far easier to put someone else down than come up to the mark.
Anyhow, bravo to you for standing your ground, whilst retaining your dignity and grace.  Mr obfuscation is showing poor form and I wouldn’t buy his candles on principle (as well as the fact that I love yours so why would i change). Anyway, as I said, he offers far less in every way.
Keep doing what you do so well,
J”
Having worked every day of the long weekend, I can assure you that I’m not doing Queen B because it gives me work/life balance.  Having not put prices up in 8 years, I can assure you that I’m not doing Queen B for money.  So why do it then?  Because I’m completely obsessed with bees.  I’m passionate about minimising chemicals in our homes.  I’m passionate about the environment.  I get to meet extraordinary people.  Because if I’m going to do something a gazillion hours a week then I want to do something where I feel as if I’m making a difference.  And most of all because I love making and sending out light.  If you think about for just a second, that really is an amazing thing to be able to do with your life.
Feeling blessed,
Cate xx

 

Winter finally seems to have finally got her claws into Sydney, the cold and grey days brightened by the number of candles lit at the hive.  It’s a lucky fortune, I realise, that we get to light such magnificence daily and it’s a lucky fortune that I love to share.  As you may have noticed, I’ve also been pondering gratitude, generosity, gift giving, card writing and all those wonderful things recently because I have a lot of it in my life.

Putting all of it together, I decided that one of the keys to spreading the light, brightening up the short winter days was to do an uber special, Queen B’s Long Weekend Sale.  All offers are open until midnight on 10th June 2014.  And I’ve also been giving some thought as to how you can share the light without breaking the bank and came up with a few ideas on that front too.  So, here we go.

Firstly, the most popular candles in our range – our pure beeswax tealight candles.  We’ve got the following special offers:

Queen B beeswax candles don't bumble beeswax

Secondly, my favourite candles in our range – our Bee Light candles.  I often send these out as a random gifts of light packaged in a brown envelope (as you see below)… I’ve loaded them up with an option INCLUDING SHIPPING for an additional $3  (i.e. our usual $11 flat rate shipping for orders <$100, free for orders over $100 doesn’t apply).  So you can order away to your hearts content and we can ship directly to the lucky recipient.  Tick “this is a gift” when you’re checking out and tell us what to write on the card and we’ll do everything.  For the next 3 days we’re doing these at 10% off so we’ll pay the shipping cost for you.

Ensure a happy flame with your beeswax candles with these bee lights

And as a final addition to the plethora of queenie b’s day long weekend specials, I came up with a way of sharing pure beeswax tealight love at a lower cost.  Why not buy a bulk carton of tealight candles and put together your own smaller packs.  I’ve loaded up an option to purchase the sinamay bags we use with a swing tag for $2.00 each. Buy a bulk carton of tealights.  Grab a few bags.  Use some of the tealights for yourself and give some as gifts.

sustainable packaging with queen b beeswax candles for a happy flame

 

That’s all for now folks :-)

I hope you’re having a gorgeous long weekend and hope that we’ll be lighting up the long nights for you through winter.

Cate xx

 

We are the recipients of a huge volume of really extra-ordinary mail here at Queen B.  Emails.  Letters/cards.  Facebook posts.  They’re the pep in our step.  The wind in our sails.  The hand holding us up.

Given the big difference it makes to us, I thought we’d pay it forward.  So, each week we’re going to pick a “Letter of the week”.  We’ll publish it and send the lovely writer a little extra Queen B bee-created light.  In some ways its trifling to pick 52 bits of feedback from the hundreds that we received, but I figure we’re better doing something that nothing at all.

Seriously, lovely letters are what make the world go around.  I don’t think that I am unique in small business in completely doing my head in (!!) over-thinking everything, and making sure that every decision I make it ethical and sustainable etc.  So it’s really lovely to be reminded to lift your head to the light and to remember what we’re doing here and the difference we’re making.

Today was a really special day which is perhaps why it finally struck me that I needed to do this!  We received several really lovely emails, but one in particular really touched me.  She wrote about an issue that has long concerned me and never written about because I was sick of negativity!  I share her email here:

Dear Cate and Sarah,

You truly spoil me.  You cannot imagine my surprise to find my beautiful candles waiting for me so soon after I ordered when I got back home this morning after a trip to the shop.  It wasn’t until I opened the box and got a glorious waft of honey that I knew who my parcel was from.

I expressed how much I loved your products yesterday but I had only sample the jam jar tea lights. As I unwrapped each item I grew more and more excited. And the lollipops! How novel! I cannot wait to try them!

I have to say it again. You’re products are AMAZING and you should be so proud.

Thank you again,
K”

Thank you K.  Your email really touched all of us.  I’m not sure that I am particularly deft at negotiating great marketing with running an ethical business.  But I do know that all 3 of us turn up at Queen B every day and give it everything that we have to give (and sometimes more).  And it’s lovely when that is appreciated.

Thank you to all of you who communicate with us – be it in comments, Facebook posts, emails, letters or on the phone.  May you be the recipient of a random gift of light (be it from us or from someone else) in return.

Cate xx

 

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