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Archive for February, 2011

Just got wind of this story (thank you to all the lovely friends and fans who send me links and scans and even clippings… it is GREATLY appreciated and I am going to endeavour to share more of them on the blog this year)…

Anyway, it’s a great little story about urban beekeeping and amateur beekeepers being the frontline of our defence against the varroa mite.  You can watch the story here – http://www.abc.net.au/news/video/2011/02/14/3138284.htm

The timing is also a little uncanny as I am about to take delivery this evening of a beehive to go on my balcony!  Stay tuned for more on that one (not sure if I’m really passionate or really mad… or perhaps a little of both)!


Queen B beeswax candles are made with 100% pure Australian beeswax a pure cotton wick and copious amounts of hand made love. We stock beautiful and stylish candle holders, personalised candles, votive candles and pillar candles that nourish the human spirit and our environment.

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I have a dream.  Well, I have several actually!  One of them is to establish a Bee Garden in Sydney, and to encourage a renaissance in urban beekeeping.  My dream is for people (kids in particular) to know more about bees… their extraordinary, selfless, hardworking nature and functional community structure… the amazing products of the hive (honey, bee pollen, royal jelly, propolis and beeswax)… to eat raw honey, in honeycomb, fresh from the hive… and for the flowers and veggie gardens of Sydney to enjoy the benefits.  This is my call to action

I would love there to be more beekeepers in Sydney, and more people knowledgeable and passionate about bees in Sydney.*  Beehives grace the rooftops in New York (where classes sell out and the ban on keeping bees in the city was recently lifted), the veggie garden at The White House, they’re in London (at Fortnum & Mason, The Royal Lancaster Hotel, actually all over London), not to mention in Paris at Paris Opera, and the Grand Palais on Paris’ Champs ElyseeThis blog also has great information and links.  We need a bee renaissance in Sydney!  Sign our petition and please help spread the word.

This dream was reignited recently when I was walking through the Botanic Gardens in Sydney for the first time in years, and was transported back to Luxembourg Gardens in Paris where I found the most fantastic apiary right there, in the sixth arrondissement of Paris, in the middle of the gardens.  A few of my photographs are below.  The garden had its 150th anniversary in 2006 and is looked after by Societe Centrale d’Apiculture.  Each September they harvest they honey to sell in the Garden’s Orangerie.

Bee Garden in Luxembourg Gardens, Paris

Luxembourg Gardens Bee Garden, Paris

Apiary, Luxembourg Gardens, Paris

To kick along the process of establishing a Bee Garden in Sydney, I am hoping to collect enough signatures to show the relevant authorities that this is wanted and important.  Sign our petition to register your support or interest in urban beekeeping.

* Note: this passion is not new, but it was reignited late last year when I read that Pittwater Council were spraying pesticides on the clover growing in the local parks lest kids accidentally step on a bee.  Head shake.  Eye roll.  Yes, geniuses, far better to have kids running around on and breathing in pesticides than to have them wearing shoes in the park, or, God forbid, getting stung by a bee.  Yes, a bee sting hurts.  That does not mean you are having an anaphylactic reaction.  There are far fewer people allergic to bee stings than peanuts.


Queen B beeswax candles are made with 100% pure Australian beeswax a pure cotton wick and copious amounts of hand made love. We stock beautiful and stylish candle holders, personalised candles, votive candles and pillar candles that nourish the human spirit and our environment.

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The email below is the text of an email sent to me by WordPress in early January.  Their comments in black, mine in orange italics!

Crunchy numbers

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 5,600 times in 2010. That’s about 13 full 747s. [or about 1/10th of the inhabitants of a beehive... not quite as sexy sounding]

 

In 2010, there were 65 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 67 posts. There were 154 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 161mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was November 10th with 395 views. The most popular post that day was Now THAT’S a thank you note….

The part I found most fascinating was the following

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Now THAT’S a thank you note… October 2010
2 comments

2

Why the white beeswax Queenie? October 2010
5 comments

3

Beeswax tealights – we put Queen B (and the others) to the test July 2010
6 comments

4

About Queen B October 2009

5

50 Kris Kringle gifts <$25 December 2010

 

So how fascinating is that?  Out of all the revealing, heartfelt, witty, intelligent, insightful things (!!) that I wrote last year, the one that was viewed the most was about a thank you letter (sent to a customer who gave a gift of Queen B candles).  Being someone who loves to analyse things (and wanting a full beehive complement of blog viewers in 2011!), I pondered why?  Is it that everyone loves a bit of good news?  Do Queen B blog readers have a latent fear that they don’t say thank you enough and want some tips?!

Penny for your thoughts…

- what do you enjoy reading on the blog
– what would you like to see more or less of?
– is doing a blog worthwhile, or should I reclaim my life and just focus on making beautiful beeswax candles?

The best/most helpful/insightful response (as judged by me!) will receive a selection of Queen B candles (as chosen by me!) to the value of $200.  Winner announced on Friday, 18th February 2011.


Queen B beeswax candles are made with 100% pure Australian beeswax a pure cotton wick and copious amounts of hand made love. We stock beautiful and stylish candle holders, personalised candles, votive candles and pillar candles that nourish the human spirit and our environment.

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Melbourne wunderkind Joost has been sharing the love… with The Rocks in Sydney the first stop on the world tour of The Greenhouse by Joost.

The Greenhouse uses light gauge steel, roll formed on site, to create a building shell that is very strong, naturally termite resistant and 100% recyclable.

 

Greenhouse by Joost frame being assembled (and not a bad view either)

 

The building is insulated with locally sourced straw (from wheat, barley, rice etc) wedged into the frame – the framework being designed specifically to the length & width of strawbales.  Interestingly, Joost was telling me the other day that in Germany, a timber framed house is fire rated to burn completely within 45 minutes, where a straw bale house is rated to burn in a day and a half.  Amazing.  New fact for that day.

 

Greenhouse by Joost - straw bales at the ready

 

The light fittings are made from old fencing wire (and will be filled with a bespoke designed Queen B candle that we’re working on at the moment).  Even the flooring which was being (painstakingly) laid when I visited the other day is recycled… made from old conveyor belts!

 

Greenhouse by Joost - conveyor belt flooring being laid

 

[Can I just say for the record that I realise that this photograph is probably not the best photograph of the flooring but I was doing more of a "scenic" shot and when I came this arvo to find a photo of the flooring to illustrate how beautiful it was, I realised that this one showing the backside of Evo was the only one I had!  Blush!  Sooooooo not on purpose people!  Evo's face is even more beautiful.]

Anyway, moving on…

So the other great thing about having the Greenhouse in Sydney is that we get to have Matt Stone in Sydney.  Matt is the head chef at The Greenhouse restaurant in Perth and was most recently crowned Best New Talent in the Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Awards and Young Chef Of The Year at the inaugural West Australian Good Food Guide awards.  I was lucky enough to have dinner with Joost and his team the other night (cooked by Matt) and the food was divine.  I must say though that I felt incredibly old was I just wanted to tell him that he need to pull his pants up (literally, not metaphorically!) and that he’d look so much nicer if he just got rid of that ring through his lip!!  Oh dear, I am becoming my mother…

As if all those reasons weren’t enough reasons to love having The Greenhouse in Sydney, I also love it because Sydney now has (temporarily) its very own 3-shipping-container-large David Bromley.

 

David getting rigged up for the cherry picker

The ENORMOUS David Bromley on The Greenhouse Sydney

It was really heartening to chat to Matt (Stone) today and I asked him how he was going in meeting the people he needed to meet and finding the suppliers he wanted… he said that it was under control thanks to Neil Perry who had taken him under his wing, introduced Matt to all of his own suppliers and made sure he had everything he needed.  I knew that Neil was a fan & friend of Joost, but from Matt said this was serious going above and beyond kind of help.

I’ll sign off with an image of Joost himself sitting atop The Greenhouse (he had just bounded up the frame of the staircase in about 20 seconds, only to have to come back down again to find me gingerly trying to make my way up without falling through)!

 

Joost

Whilst all of this may seem very “big business” (what an extraordinary building site), actually the Greenhouse is one big risky dream being undertaken by Joost and his wife Jennie.  Yes, they have supporters – we need to thank Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority for making this one happen – but, actually they have a lot of their own capital at risk with this project.  Like most small businesses, they rely on fans to spread the word and support the cause.  You can support Joost and the Greenhouse on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Better still, if you’re in Sydney, why not pop by for a look, a drink and a meal (check the opening hours on their website).

The Greenhouse has its official opening this Wednesday (9th Feb) and will be open to the public from Saturday (12th Feb)… hopefully I’ll see you there. xx

 


Queen B beeswax candles are made with 100% pure Australian beeswax a pure cotton wick and copious amounts of hand made love. We stock beautiful and stylish candle holders, personalised candles, votive candles and pillar candles that nourish the human spirit and our environment.

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For anyone not in Sydney, well it’s been a little like living in an oven for the past week… particularly when you’re working with molten beeswax on top of the mid-30 degree temperatures every day.  Yesterday it hit 42 degrees celcius.  I decided to go to my local pool on the way home for a dip…

How extraordinarily lucky are we?  Where else in the world could you go for a dip at your local, free, harbourside pool with a view like this?

 

Harbourside respite from Sydney's heatwave

Drawn like a bee to water

 

 


Queen B beeswax candles are made with 100% pure Australian beeswax a pure cotton wick and copious amounts of hand made love. We stock beautiful and stylish candle holders, personalised candles, votive candles and pillar candles that nourish the human spirit and our environment.

Read Full Post »

We are often asked what to do with the left over beeswax from burning the rolled pillars.  A lot of customers bring it in or send it back to us where we clean it and put it back into production (after all it is liquid gold).  You may, however, prefer to use it yourself to make a beeswax lip balm.

Here’s a fabulous recipe I found recently (thanks to Alan Hayes’ Natural Solutions column in the Daily Telegraph):

Ingredients:

15g beeswax
50ml almond oil
10ml wheat germ oil
5ml jojoba oil
40ml distilled water
friars balsam
essential oils

Method:

Melt beeswax in a double boiler over a medium heat.  When it is completely molten stir in the rest of the ingredients.  Remove from heat and pour into a ceramic bowl.  Add six drops of friars balsam and five drops each of chamomile and rose essential oils (or pick your own favourites).  Beat until cool and creamy, then store in a jar in the fridge, or keep in a small container in your handbag.

This lip balm has a shelf life of around 2 months.  If it starts to smell off, throw it away and make a new batch.  Better still, make some for your family and friends.

 

Beeswax lip balm recipe

 

 


Queen B beeswax candles are made with 100% pure Australian beeswax a pure cotton wick and copious amounts of hand made love. We stock beautiful and stylish candle holders, personalised candles, votive candles and pillar candles that nourish the human spirit and our environment.

Read Full Post »

We’re in the middle of a bit of a heatwave in Sydney at the moment, and it’s even hotter when you’re working with molten beeswax.

So, I’ve been making banana smoothies at the hive to keep the troopies watered, motivated and with a big potassium, vitamin B and protein injection (not to mention calcium)!

Ingredients

1 x banana
organic yoghurt (as much as you feel like)
organic milk (cows are happier)
honey (to taste) – I use Australian Mahogany honey (from eucalyptus robusta) for its rich, treacle like flavour
ice (lots)
bee pollen (sprinkle on top of shake after blending)

Method

Blend… lots! Sprinkle a little honey and bee pollen on top.  You could also add spirulina if you like.

 

Sprinkle with bee pollen

 

 

 

Banana smoothie drizzled with Australian honey

 

Apologies for the dirty bench… we were all too excited to start drinking, so the photographs were a little secondary to the whole thing!

If you have other great recipes with honey in it, please feel free to share.

Enjoy.

 


Queen B beeswax candles are made with 100% pure Australian beeswax a pure cotton wick and copious amounts of hand made love. We stock beautiful and stylish candle holders, personalised candles, votive candles and pillar candles that nourish the human spirit and our environment.

Read Full Post »

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