Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Beeswax Candles & Candle Making’ Category

Some people think I’m quite tough.  Anyone who has seen me with my niece will know I’m a complete walkover.  Pathetic.  Weak willed. Putty.  Wrapped around a 6 year old finger.  Thankfully the extent of her manipulations at this stage only involves decanting honey (she gets to control the lever, put on the lids… oh, and clean up the drips!), tasting honey, rolling beeswax candles and watching the River Cottage series or Monty Don’s My Dream Farm!  Knowing I’m not a fan of TV she suggests that we put on an “educational DVD”.  As I say, putty (and, hopefully, a farmer in the making)!

Today she announced that she’d like to roll christmas trees and write instructions for other kids “so that they can be as lucky as I am, Kookie”!  I kid you not.  While I rolled our big pillars, she rolled Christmas trees.  If you’ve followed my blog, you know I’m not known for brevity, but in this case I’ll let the pictures do the talking.  For the record, wording and spelling are her own!  [Spelling corrections suggested by putty auntie].

eeswax Christmas Tree candle rolling instructions for 6 year olds

Step by step instructions to roll your own Beeswax Christmas Tree candles

Beeswax Christmas Tree candle rolling instructions for 6 year olds

Insert the wick

Beeswax Christmas Tree candle rolling instructions for 6 year olds

Roll towards yourself

Beeswax Christmas Tree candle rolling instructions for 6 year olds

Watch the bottom to make sure it is level

DIY Beeswax Christmas Tree candle rolling instructions for 6 year olds

Ensure the bottom is neatly finished (if you look closely you’ll see me wrapped around that little finger)

Beeswax Christmas Tree candle rolling instructions for 6 year olds

Hand written instructions – 6 year old style

Beeswax Christmas Tree candle rolling instructions for 6 year olds

Every artist needs a break just to think

Being an auntie is surely one of the greatest privileges that life has to offer.

Cate xx

Read Full Post »

Seems we’re at the pointy end of the year from a gift giving point of view… and so a little, gentle, oh-so-sweet reminder that we’d love to solve all your gift giving woes for you!  We cater for both the complete control freaks who arrive with lists (with whom I have immediate affinity :-0) and for our many male customers who send us a list of the people they want gifts for (+ essential details) and a budget and we pick, pack & wrap.  Whether you’re looking for a gift for a special teacher, a little something meaningful in the stocking, a kris kringle gift or a sustainable, Australian made gift for all of your staff and clients we’ve got it covered.

Kris Kringle gift ideas, Australian made sustainable eco gift, corporate gift idea

Kris Kringle Sustainable Gift Giving Tree

As I write this, I’m ponder the words and philosophy of another blog I read, Whole Larder Love.  Rohan speaks a lot about the impact on the planet of consumerism and, on many levels I agree.  I reconcile what I do (selling beeswax candles and other, beautiful, Australian made products) because I know that what we do does actually make a difference to many lives and many businesses.

When you buy a Queen B candle you are supporting Australian beekeepers and the regional communities they live in as well as our staff and our many Australian suppliers.  Don’t let that just wash over you as being marketing spin (it isn’t).  Think about it for a moment.  Our beekeepers (and their hard working bees) put food on our plates, flowers in our gardens, herbs and veggies in our patches and the caramelised sunlight that we call honey in just about anything tasty.  They’re worth fighting for. They’re worth supporting and hopefully we bring you a product that makes it easy and affordable for you to show that support.  The fact that you also get to bathe in the natural wonder that is bee-created light is a bonus.  And, oh, what a bonus.  Even after a decade of making beeswax candles, the flame of a Bee Light candle can still stop me, as it grabs me by the eye-balls and demands that I get into the moment NOW.  Right now.

Conjoined Bee Lights... a happy production error.  An even more visible halo...

Conjoined Bee Lights… a happy production error. An even more visible halo…

If you’ve never noticed the aura/halo that that surrounds the flame of a pure beeswax candle (versus the paraffin tealight candle on the right), take a look the next time you light a beeswax candle.  It truly is extraordinary.

Notice the size of the flame on the beeswax candle and the "halo" around the flame

Beeswax flame versus Paraffin flame – Notice the size of the flame on the beeswax candle and the “halo” around the flame

I’ll leave it at that.  The literature says that the answer to getting people to read your blog (or newsletters) is to do short posts!  I find that next to impossible because there is so much thought behind everything that we do… and I just like a good chat.

As an aside, because it’s lovely to share a little of the magic that goes on at Queen B… you may know if you’ve followed us for a while that our continued survival is due, in some part, to ‘angels’ who turn up weekly as volunteers to package the candles.  It wasn’t something that I dreamed up, but someone, somewhere realised I needed help and it arrived.  Many of the angels who have helped have had terminal cancer and so their numbers have dwindled over the years.  At the same time Queen B has been growing.  We’re now very reliant on the couple of remaining angels (and mum and dad are being called in with alarming regularity to get me through a fix)!  About a week ago I said to Sarah (the same Sarah who writes the beautiful notes on your invoices) we desperately need more angels but I have no idea how you go about finding angels!

Fast forward a week.  A woman (we’ll call her Robin) calls yesterday morning.  She’s local.  Googled for beeswax candles.  Popped in to the hive.  We had a lovely chat and off she went with bags full of beeswax candles (and some of the DIVINE Dinosaur Designs stuff we’ve got in store).  A few hours later she was back.  This time I was upstairs and she was looked after by Sarah.  Now it may have had something to do with the fact that I was supposed to be doing MYOB, but I could hear their conversation and I hear  Robin say ‘if you’re ever looking for a volunteer… a spare set of hands… someone to help out, I’d love to come and just spend time here and help you’.  I seriously almost vaulted off the mezzanine level.  Certainly not many of the stairs were touched as I flew down them.  I could have (and I think I may have) hugged her!  All the while saying a silent word of thanks to the powers that bee.  Amazing… and nothing really to do with kris kringle or stocking stuffers or teachers gifts – but my favourite part of this post!

If you did make it to the end – thank you!

Cate 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 holderspersonalised candlesvotive candles and pillar candles that nourish the human spirit and our environment.

Read Full Post »

Pollen

What a fabulous exercise that was!  Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who voted and commented and liked and tweeted and posted… the verdict is in and interestingly, both the official Judging Panel (Louise Olsen from Dinosaur Designs, Deb Bibby from Real Living Magazine and Jodie Warters from ISCD)  and the jury (you guys) came to the same conclusion.  Clearly we have very stylish customers!  Pollen, by Tina Murray-Walker, was the clear winner in both camps.

hand made, beeswax, candle, Tina Graham, Pollen, honeycomb, ISCD collaboration, Mark Tuckey

Pollen design by Tina Murray-Walker for Queen B beeswax candles – shot on location at Mark Tuckey. Artwork by David Bromley

I trundled off to one of my retailers on Saturday – fabulous, Australian manufacturer, Mark Tuckey* – with my new designs in hand and was tickled yellow to discover that we are ‘on trend’ with the colour too!  What a happy surprise.  Being ‘on trend’ has never been a great driver for me as I think that non-toxic, Australian made, beautiful designs, being real and anything to do with bees are more important than being trendy, but what a happy coincidence that in this case we can have it all!  I have to say too that making the candles on Saturday just made me feel happy.

Just before I delightedly show you “Pollen” in a myriad of ways at Mark Tuckey, a thank you to all the designers for their beautiful designs.  It is testament to the quality of their work that we had our biggest response ever to a call out for your opinions.  Special mention as runners up to Ingrid Bowen for her Fez design (which came second) and to Sandy Cipriotti for Sunburst and Brenda Deguara for Bedelia (which came equal third).

As promised when I announced the winning comment (the winner was Amanda Ingham for her post on our blog) we’re offering 20% off to anyone who posted on the blog, commented on Facebook or ‘liked’ on Instagram PRIOR to 5th November 2013 when entries closed.  Your order must be in the same name as the name you used to comment, post or like!  The 20% off offer is valid until 5pm this Friday, 15th November 2013.  Simply put your name into the comments field to alert us to your revered status (and that we need to look for your comment/like/post)!

They are available in 3 different sizes:

  • 10cm medium (10cm H x 8.5cm W) with a 50 hour burn time
  • 15cm medium (15cm H x 8.5cm W) with a 90 hour burn time
  • 20cm fat (20cm H x 10.5cm W) with a 200 hour burn time

With no further ado, it is with great pleasure that I give you Pollen…

hand made, beeswax, candle, Tina Graham, Pollen, honeycomb, ISCD collaboration, Mark Tuckey

Pollen design by Tina Murray-Walker for Queen B beeswax candles – shot on location at Mark Tuckey

hand made, beeswax, candle, Tina Graham, Pollen, honeycomb, ISCD collaboration, Mark Tuckey

Pollen design by Tina Murray-Walker for Queen B beeswax candles – shot on location at Mark Tuckey

hand made, beeswax, candle, Tina Graham, Pollen, honeycomb, ISCD collaboration, Mark Tuckey

Pollen design by Tina Murray-Walker for Queen B beeswax candles – shot on location at Mark Tuckey

hand made, beeswax, candle, Tina Graham, Pollen, honeycomb, ISCD collaboration, Mark Tuckey

Pollen design by Tina Murray-Walker for Queen B beeswax candles – shot on location at Mark Tuckey

hand made, beeswax, candle, Tina Graham, Pollen, honeycomb, ISCD collaboration, Mark Tuckey

Pollen design by Tina Murray-Walker for Queen B beeswax candles – shot on location at Mark Tuckey

hand made, beeswax, candle, Tina Graham, Pollen, honeycomb, ISCD collaboration, Mark Tuckey

Pollen design by Tina Murray-Walker for Queen B beeswax candles – shot on location at Mark Tuckey

hand made, beeswax, candle, Tina Graham, Pollen, honeycomb, ISCD collaboration, Mark Tuckey

Pollen design by Tina Murray-Walker for Queen B beeswax candles – shot on location at Mark Tuckey

hand made, beeswax, candle, Tina Graham, Pollen, honeycomb, ISCD collaboration, Mark Tuckey

Pollen design by Tina Murray-Walker for Queen B beeswax candles – shot on location at Mark Tuckey

And just because I couldn’t resist showing the full, exquisite artwork by David Bromley and some of the amazing furniture made in Australia by Mark Tuckey and his talented team…

hand made, beeswax, candle, Tina Graham, Pollen, honeycomb, ISCD collaboration, Mark Tuckey

Pollen design by Tina Graham for Queen B beeswax candles – shot on location at Mark Tuckey

* be careful clicking on the link for Mark Tuckey… I just spent an hour on their website dreaming!

You can read the profile on Tina Murray-Walker in this month’s Real Living Magazine by clicking on the image below:

Real Living magazine profile on Tina Murray-Walker ISCD Surface Design student and Queen B beeswax candle design winner

Profile on Tina Murray-Walker in this month’s Real Living magazine

Read Full Post »

Somewhere, and I have no idea where, I have a reference for the scientific literature upon which this claim is based.  When I first put a website up for Queen B (which is over a decade ago now) every single claim and statement was fact checked be me.  Those fact checking references were duly recorded somewhere clever about 7 laptop computers ago and for the life of me I can’t find where it is.  And, if you google it, you really just find lots of beeswax candle website all making the same claims and all quoting one another or, quoting some random health blog with zero scientific validity.

The question was put to me again recently by a couple of asthma sufferers (air quality in Sydney has been badly affected by the bush fires with particulate matter levels 1,000 times over the ‘safe’ limit).  All I had to offer in the absence of those elusive links to the actual research are photographs that I’ve taken of my candles at home because I find it so fascinating (as an aside, yes I probably do need to get a life)

The theory goes like this: dust, pollen, pollution, viruses, smoke, germs, aromas etc are all positively charged ions that float in the air (because they are lighter than air).  A beeswax candle when it is burning emits negative ions (as does a waterfall, or those ionisers that you plug into a wall or himalayan salt crystal lamps are also said to, but I haven’t done that research).  The negative ions emitted by the candle attach to the positive ions floating in the air and that forms an atom which is heavier than air and thus drops to the ground or, if it is close enough to the candle, is drawn into the pool of wax.

I personally think that a picture speaks a thousand words so here are just a few from my candles that I burn at home.

when burning a Queen B pure beeswax candle is a natural ioniser

A beeswax candle is a natural ioniser – the proof is in the wax pool

purify the air you breathe by burning Queen B pure beeswax candles

Another glimpse at the air borne dirt pulled out of my living environment and into the pool of beeswax

The negative ions emitted by a pure beewax candle draw air borne dirt into the wax pool

The negative ions emitted by a pure bee wax candle draw air borne dirt into the wax pool

Which brings me to my final point which is about the candle care.  Depending on how much particulate matter is in the air where you live (and it tends to be high if you live near main roads or if you live near building works or even if you live next to bushland) there can be quite a bit of dirt in the pool of wax and this can affect how your candle burns.  A couple of things to note:

  1. Sometimes the top of the wick will look “dead” (see photograph below)… that is where the dirt is trapped and that is why we always say that you MUST trim the wick of your candle whenever you go to relight it.  It is trimming off the ‘dead’ part of the wick.  Lock that one into your memory bank… it’s critical.
  2. Sometimes the dirt may gather around the base of the wick and when you go to relight your candle you will have trouble relighting it.  This is a basic physics problem – if the dirt is stopping the wick from drawing the wax (it’s fuel source) then the candle won’t light properly and will go out.  The solution: when you light the candle, hold the flame of the lighter or the match to the base of the wick until you can see that the wax changes colour and starts to melt… that shifts the dirt clogging the wick and allows the wick to draw fuel.Beeswax candles are exceptionally clever, the candle will work it out from that point on, you just need to give it it’s fuel source.  I generally don’t suggest tipping out the wax (because you’re tipping out hours of candlelight)… the candle will work it out.

In the photo below you can see both the ‘dead’ top of the wick and the dirt gathered at the base of the wick.

purify the air you breathe with a pure beeswax candle

A beeswax candle is a natural ioniser when lit – note the ‘dead’ tip of the wick (where dust is gathered) and the dirt at the base of the wick in the pool of wax

Yours in pursuit of clean air and nature’s finest light,

Cate xx

Read Full Post »

One of the exciting things we’ve been working on this year is a collaboration with the International School of Colour and Design (ISCD) with each of the students in the Surface Design course coming up with a potential new design for our rolled beeswax pillars.

The first batch of designs are in.
We’re spoiled for choice and we need your feedback.

We’re potentially launching 2 new designs… depending on your feedback.  The first design we’ll be launching was chosen by a judging panel consisting of Louise Olsen (Dinosaur Designs), Deb Bibby (editor of Real Living magazine), Jodie Warters (Surface Design teacher, ISCD) and me.  The winner will be announced (and profiled) in the Christmas issue of Real Living magazine (on sale on 11th November).

Our potential second design will depend on your feedback.  For me, there was at least one other design crying out to be part of the Queen B range.  But ultimately the success of any new product is completely dependent upon having customers that love it.  Please be opinionated, it will only take a second – you can comment below or comment on our Facebook page.  I’ll be picking one entry to win a prize pack valued at over $350 (that’s 1 in every size of the new design & a pack of Jam Jar Tealights because they’re gorgeous).  The winning comment will be picked on Sunday, 3rd November @ 5pm and my decision is final!

Vote loud.  Vote long.  Vote strong.
Here’s your chance to shake off the shackles of your day to day life and be a product designer for a minute… and you’ll have my heartfelt gratitude too.

Here’s the line up (and following is a closer up photograph of each design).

Rolled beeswax pillar candles ISCD Surface Design competition line up

Please be opinionated – tell us which is your favourite design and why (click on the image to see a larger version)

In no particular order, the designs are as follows:

Natural Threads surface design by ISCD studen for Queen B candles

“Natural Threads”

Starry Night surface design by ISCD student for Queen B candles

“Starry Night”

Art deco sunburst surface design by ISCD student for Queen B candles

“Sunburst”

Tribal surface design by ISCD student for Queen B candles

“Tribe”

Pollen surface design by ISCD student for Queen B candles

“Pollen”

Wings surface design by ISCD student for Queen B candles

“Angel Wings”

Fez Lantern surface design by ISCD student for Queen B beeswax candles

“Fez Lantern”

Bedelia surface design by ISCD student for Queen B beeswax candles

“Bedelia”

Diamonds surface design by ISCD student for Queen B beeswax candles

“Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend”

A very big thank you also to Louise Olsen, Deb Bibby and Jodie Warters for being on the ‘pro’s’ judging panel and sharing their time and expertise.  It was a privilege.  And it heralded a whole rethink about Queen B and what we do.

Surface Design judging panel for Queen B rolled beeswax pillar candle 2013 design

The Judges – Jodie Warters (ISCD), Louise Olsen (Dinosaur Designs), Me, Deb Bibby (Real Living Magazine)

Thanks for being part of this journey with me.  There is no Queen B without our customers.  It is you who ultimately keep our dream alive with the choices you make.

Cate xx

Read Full Post »

Hopefully we make perfection in a beeswax candle look effortless at Queen B… the reality, however, is that whilst we may look beautiful and graceful above water, below the surface we’re going like the clappers.  The training process at Queen B is long and rigorous and there are a LOT of candles rejected along the way.  One’s that won’t burn properly get melted down again, but there are many with slight blemishes that will burn perfectly and wear their ‘scars’ with pride!  They go in to ‘Seconds World’ – first place that most visitors to the hive go.  For the next 48 hours (or until we sell out) we thought we’d open it up to our loyal fans that can’t make it to the hive.

bargain beeswax candles with slight blemishes

A brief glimpse into the delights awaiting homes in Seconds World

There are many things that are ‘one off’s’ (or ten off’s as the case may be) and others that we can safely open to the masses without creating disappointment.  For the next 48 hours (finishing at 11.59pm on Tuesday 8th October 2013 – unless we run out prior) we’re making the following Seconds World bargains available:

1. 4 x Seconds Squat Pillars – 20% off and usually just because the Queen B wax seal logo wasn’t quite perfect when applied… each candle has an approximate 40 hour burn time (designed for longer burning – 3+ hours at a time)

Bargain beeswax pillar candles

Seconds world squat beeswax pillar candles

 

2. 3 x 15cm Narrow Pillar – Honeycomb – 20% off… these one’s may lean a little or have a top which isn’t perfectly flat (and I am a bit of a perfectionist, so often the flaw may not even be visible to you).  Approximate 50 hour burn time each.

cheap beeswax candles

Seconds World – 15cm Narrow Honeycomb Beeswax Pillar candles

 

3. 2 x 15cm “Chubby” Beeswax Pillar Candles – 20% off… usually just because the Queen B wax seal logo wasn’t quite perfect when applied… each candle has an approximate 100 hour burn time (designed for longer burning – 3+ hours at a time)

beeswax church pillar candles

Seconds World – 15cm Chubby beeswax pillar candles

 

4. 4 x Burning Love candles – 25% off… these are surprisingly tricky to make and are for the realists… for those with slightly flawed relationships… with scars and blemishes… with slight cracks, a slight hole in the head or a marginally bruised arm (we’ve discounted them accordingly… and funnily, they’re a favourite amongst customers who visit the hive)!

burning love beeswax candle for flawed relationships

Seconds World Burning Love… for the realists out there

 

5. 4 x 15cm Solid Pillar – 20% off… and usually just because the Queen B wax seal logo wasn’t quite perfect when applied… each candle has an approximate 40 hour burn time

bargain beeswax pillar candles with slight flaws

Seconds World 15cm Solid Beeswax Pillar candles

 

6. 3 x 10cm Medium Hand-rolled Honeycomb Beeswax Pillar Candle – 20% off… these one’s may lean a little or have a top which isn’t perfectly flat (and I am a bit of a perfectionist, so often the flaw may not even be visible to you).  Approximate 50 hour burn time each.

slightly flawed hand-rolled beeswax pillar candles

Seconds World 10cm Medium Honeycomb Beeswax Pillar candles

 

The road to perfection is littered with experiences that make us who we are.

Cate xx

Read Full Post »

Queen B for Dinosaur Designs by Louise Olsen and Stephen Ormandy beeswax candle range

You know when you’ve wanted something for so long and when it happens you kind of have to pinch yourself?

When you’ve had your head down and your bum up for a decade and you lift your head and think ‘wow, I didn’t realise how far I’d travelled’?

How when you meet someone you’ve admired from afar you’re meant to play it really cool?

Well, this is all those things for me (apart from the fact that I’m not playing it really cool)!  I’ve admired Dinosaur Designs from afar for going on 20 years.  My sisters (who I admire) have always loved, and worn, their jewellery and bought their homewares.  I have always loved their designs and that they were Australian made.  And with 28 years under their belt hand making their wares in Australia, I admire their longevity, their ability to keep being creative and for their rolodex of friends.  Friends say a lot about a person and they seem to be surrounded by similarly passionate, intelligent, successful, beautiful (on the inside) people.

This is one of those ‘woo, woo’ stories!  Over Christmas when we shut for a few weeks, I always take some time to reflect on Queen B, and this past Christmas I reflected on the fact that the things that I have enjoyed most in the past decade have been our collaborations – Joost, Vue de Monde, Grandiflora, Bollinger, Swarovski, Dior, Penfolds, Cartier, World Wildlife Fund (Earth Hour)… there have been many, and they are the ultimate 1 + 1 = 3 testament.  I put 2 names on my list of people that I wanted to collaborate with:  Dinosaur Designs and Signature Prints (who make all the Florence Broadhurst fabrics and wallpapers… again, right here in Australia… and again, recognised globally).  And here’s the ‘woo, woo’ bit… not 48 hours back in the country I received an email from Dinosaur Designs wanting to meet.  Woo, woo – yay and woo, woo – thank you universe.

So, I’m not playing it cool, I’m stoked!  I’m excited that some of the greatest design talent in Australia has chosen to work with the best that nature has to offer (beeswax) and with this humble little business that we know as Queen B and together we’ve created something extra-ordinary.  We’re not necessarily an easy business to work with!  I won’t add colour to the beeswax (because then you’re combusting a dye… which creates emissions).  I won’t add fragrance to the beeswax (and we lose a lot of jobs because of this) because then you’re combusting an oil… which creates emissions.  I won’t use toxic inks (which means we can’t match PMS colours)!  There’s a list of things and many companies have walked away because they want scented, coloured candles.  You know you’re dealing with the company with both ethics and substance when they take that list and create something beautiful that worships nature.

OK, so I’m not being ‘cool’ at all!!

So, here they are.  They are very limited edition and you can find them at Dinosaur Designs 7 stores (including New York), at Dinosaur Designs online (where you can also pick up some of the beautiful homewares that inspired the design) or at Queen B’s hive or Queen B online.

Available in 3 different sizes and 2 different designs, with the extraordinary long burn times that you’ve come to know and love about Queen B’s pure beeswax pillar candles.  With iconic Dinosaur Designs applied to the pure beeswax wraps, they’re a beautiful and functional piece of art.:

pure beeswax hand-rolled pillar candles by Queen B for Dinosaur Designs

Queen B for Dinosaur Designs pure beeswax candle range

 

Totem
Small Beeswax Pillar Candle (50 hour burn time)
Medium Beeswax Pillar Candle  (90 hour burn time)
Large Beeswax Pillar Candle (200 hour burn time)

Boulders
Small Beeswax Pillar Candle (50 hour burn time)
Medium Beeswax Pillar Candle (90 hour burn time)
Large Beeswax Pillar Candle (200 hour burn time)

 

 

Here are a few other beautiful shots

Louise Olsen & Stephen Ormandy of Dinosaur Designs pure beeswax candles by Queen B

From Louise Olsen’s Instagram feed

 

Beeswax hand rolled pillar candle by Queen B for Dinosaur Designs

Our pure beeswax pillar candles burn down inside their individually painted wraps

 

Read Full Post »

I’m thinking that it’s pretty tragic that it took a candle order to get me to go to the opera, but there it is… My life is quite tragic in many ways (and deliciously fabulous in others :-)). All I can say is that I regret not going sooner.  Last night we went to see Opera Australia’s production of Tosca and it was extra-ordinary.

Let me start at the beginning… see if you can guess whether Tilly was excited or not?  Sydney Ferries provided limousine transfer door to door.

Sydney Ferry limousine to Opera House to see Tosca candlelit by pure beeswax candles from Queen B

Why is it that the best photographs are never in focus?!

We had a beautiful dinner by the harbour… and then on to the opera!

I have to admit up front that while I was very excited to be seeing our candles lighting up Tosca, I was a little less sure about whether I would actually enjoy a whole opera.  Sure, I love the operatic aria’s.  Sure, we listen to classical music at the hive.  But I wasn’t sure about 3 hours of opera.  I’m happy to say I was wrong.  I loved it.  So did Tilly.   Not only was it an auditory feast, but it was a visual feast.  The set was astonishing.  And I think I appreciated it all the more because I’d been to Opera Australia HQ and been given a quick tour through the carpentry department, metal working department, fibre glass department, costume design, sewing, painting, decorating etc etc and is was just so gratifying to see that it is all being done locally.  We may be shipping in entire buildings in shipping containers from overseas, but Opera Australia are building incredible sets in Australia.  GOOD. ON. YOU. OPERA. AUSTRALIA.  I am tempted to go to more opera’s on the basis that I’ll be supporting those jobs.  I’ll be the one in the loges with the ‘partially obscured view’… and I’ll be loving every second of that partial view! Opera Australia run a behind the scenes tour on Wednesday’s for $15 (that’s a bargain).  You can find more information on their website.

Whilst it was an obvious highlight to see our candles lighting up the production, it was also a little bit distracting for this tragic soul!  I think I missed about 50% of the surtitles in the first act because I was checking to see that the candles weren’t dripping in the cross breezes on stage…

and then noticing how slowly they were burning and calculating that at that rate of burning they would be lasting Opera Australia for around the next decade of productions of Tosca…

and watching to make sure that despite their extraordinary length they were upright…

and trying to pick out the fake candles (yes, there are some of those too)!…

and then checking to see that Tilly was also enjoying it!!

Phew!  It was exhausting.  And I’m happy to report that they didn’t appear to drip, that they were upright, that you could tell a real candle from a fake and that Tilly enjoyed himself!

Acts 2 and 3 were a little more disappointing relaxing because there were no Queen B candles burning.

 

Opera Australia's Tosca candlelit by Queen B's pure beeswax pillar candles

Look at those beautiful beeswax candles and the magnificent set they built around them

 

Beeswax candles for Tosca by Queen B

Opera Australia’s TOSCA. Candles by Queen B. Photo by Prudence Upton

I’m thinking that the Australian Ballet may need to commission us next.  I’m dying to see a ballet.

The ticket that I bought for Tosca (and gave away on Facebook) in the loges was $67.50 (+booking fee) which really in the general scheme of how incredible the production was, the talent, the set (and those candles) makes it an affordable investment in the Australian arts, your own edification and a great night out.

We’re giving away 2 Tosca pillars in a competition in the next Opera Australia newsletter, so head on over to the website and register for the newsletter and be in the running to win.

Still glowing…

Cate

Read Full Post »

About a week ago I received an email from a customer who wasn’t happy because our tapers were dripping.  [I could go into how gutted I was at this stage but as that would make me relive it, let's spare us both :-)].  Her email went like this (this is the full email and pasted in full because it’s quite a lovely way to write a complaint):

Hi Cate,

I absolutely love your candles, thank you! I’m hoping you can help me with the dinner sticks I have a box of. They look great on my table, however I find I’ve stopped using them because I can’t stop them from dripping onto the table.  Any tips to make them dripless? I trim the wicks regularly.  I’m hoping there’s a solution so I can start using them again as they burn so beautifully.

Thanks so much,

K

What a sweetheart.  Moment to reflect on how lucky we are to have customers who are beautiful on the inside (and out).

I responded and again I am putting in the full email because it has good tips for anyone burning taper candles:

Hi Kay,

Thank you so much for your email… it is only if a customer raises a concern that I get the opportunity to fix it.

I burn the tapers myself every evening.  Have done for years.  So I know from first hand experience that they are dripless when they are burned in a draft free environment.  If they are dripping, then there must be a draft… be that from open windows, air conditioning, central heating, fans or simply a drafty house.  I would try moving one to a spot that you know is draft free and burning it there.  That won’t help you with having them burning on your table, but at least it will convince you that they are genuinely drip free when burned in a draft free environment!

In terms of then coming up with a solution for your table, well, if there is air movement in that area, then you are never going to get a taper (dinner stick) that doesn’t drip.  Unfortunately because they are so narrow, there is little room to play with choosing a wick.  So, in that case, I’d suggest either trying the Bee Lights (although they tend to drip in a breeze too for exactly the same reason) OR I would try the solid pillars… which are also great bang for your buck.  The 15cm Solid Pillar and 20cm Solid Pillar are a great simple candle that you can simply sit on the table or on a ceramic holder or a tile or something else.  They are good for burning for anything over an hour at a time.  The Squat Pillar is good for burning over 2 hours at a time.

I hope that helps.

Please keep me posted with how you go burning the tapers in a place where there is no breeze.  In order to determine if there is a breeze, simply watch the flame… if the flame is “dancing” then there is a breeze.  If the flame is still, it will burn perfectly top to bottom without a drip.  Promise.

Warmest everything

Cate

And here’s the cruncher, because we actually get to close the loop on this one.  ‘K’ wrote back to me this morning with an update (which made my day because when I know that we have an unhappy customer I genuinely lose sleep over it).  Again, in full, it read:

Hi Cate,

You’re absolutely right, thank you! I’ve tried burning them in a different spot and they’re beautifully dripless!  It’s a bit silly I didn’t think of that, sorry.  I was burning them on our kitchen table, which is surrounded by windows and a door. They look amazing there, but sadly that spot doesn’t work due to airflow.  I have your pillars already, which I’ve put there instead. 

Thanks very much, Cate. I’ll be in to purchase more soon, I’m sure!

K

 It seems to be a week of posting tips for beeswax candle use and better burning!  What I learned from my last post is that that’s pretty useful for lots of people.  I also thought it might be interesting to share just a small selection of the photographs from when I did the wick testing for our tapers… and wow, the memories it brought back.  There are no duplicates in this image (created with the help of iPhoto and my very limited photoshop skills!).

beeswax dinner taper candle cotton wick test

Wick testing images for beeswax dinner taper candles

Sometimes my mind makes me giggle… as I was creating the image above, I had the following playing in my mind… you can tell a lot about a (wo)man by his hands too!:

and the classic

 

and this from a woman who doesn’t really drink beer!

Cate xx

PS While we’re at it, if you have any issues with burning your Queen B candles or tips, please let me know by commenting below, commenting on facebook or emailing me.

Read Full Post »

In the midst of the madness that was last week I received an email from a customer that actually made me laugh out loud.  I was laughing at myself and my own stupidity and the genius of someone who looks at a problem with a fresh set of eyes.  Barbara wrote to me with a tip on how she was cleaning her clear tealight cups for reuse.  Her email read as follows:

“Dear Cate aka Queen B

Enjoying your candles so much both at home and in my Yoga classes, particularly good for Yoga Therapy sessions when healing is the focus

I might have missed this on your site but initially I used to make a big mess with boiling water and paper towels to clean and recycle my clear cups. Then on one of our cold winter Melbourne mornings I noticed the wax remnants just dropped out – so now all the finished cups go into the freezer for a few hours/overnight, are gently squeezed, tapped and out pops the remnants and the little wick disk

Many thanks for the healing, light and love Queen B and court provides

Barbara”

Apart from her lovely feedback (which warms our cockles in a building that doesn’t get much over 8 degrees celcius throughout winter) I had to laugh because I’m a ‘boiling water’ cup cleaner.  I think it’s because I learned by cup cleaning habits with our votive glasses (and its so easy just to sit them in a tray of boiling water… and as soon as you see the wax turn white on the edges you can just scoop it out with your finger).  I’m not sure whether this cleaning tip would work with glass.  But it is genius for the our beeswax tealight candles in clear cups.

If you have a clever tip, please never assume I already know about it!  Sometimes I’m so deeply in tune with the ‘trees’ that the view of the forest evades me!

Thanks again to Barbara for a genius tip.  Please feel free to share any you might have by commenting below or emailing me.

I hope you have a great week.

Cate xx

Clear tealight cup versus aluminium tealight cup

Clear tealight cup versus aluminium tealight cup

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,485 other followers

%d bloggers like this: