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Archive for the ‘Beeswax Candles & Candle Making’ Category

There are some things in life whose worth is greater than the sum of its parts.  For me it’s enamel teapots.

When I started pouring beeswax candles about a decade ago (O.M.G!… yes, punctuation intentional) I went down to a camping supplies store to buy my first enamel teapot.  In those days Queen B was just me, pouring & rolling candles in a garage with a concrete floor.

beeswax candlemaking, enamel teapot, beeswax tealight candle, from the northern light beeswax tealight

The early days… me, an enamel teapot and molten beeswax – my happy place!

 

I digress here slightly because I wandered down memory lane and thought it worth sharing said garage and said concrete floor!

bleaching beeswax by the northern light at Queen Bee's original hive

The original Queen B hive on North Head at Manly with buckets of beeswax bleaching in the sun

 

beeswax candlemaking at Queen B's original hive

Early days… built tough – beeswax candles made to last! not for the weak knee’d.

Of course we, and our enamel teapots, now work in much plusher surroundings – OH&S now demands softer floors for our enamel teapots which is a happy coincidence for care of candlemaker’s ankles and knees.

Long term employees are the holy grail of small business and I am extraordinarily grateful to recognise that our current teapots have been in service for over 6 years.  And just to put that in perspective, that’s two teapots, worth around $30 each pouring well in excess of 700,000 candles.  I bow down in admiration.  There are few things you could buy these days that would last the test of time and extreme usage.

Your candlemaking supplies for pouring beeswax candles should include an enamel teapot

I’m an enamel teapot… short and stout… here is my handle, here is my spout – for pouring beautiful beeswax candles

 

Over the years, we’ve made sure that special enamel teapots deserve special enamel teapot holders…

Making beeswax candles by the northern light of the sun with blocks of pure organic beeswax for candles

Issy – enamel teapot lover #2

 

enamel teapot for pouring beeswax candles - first on your candle making supplies list

Kylie – enamel teapot lover #3

 

enamel teapots are an essential tool for beeswax candlemaking

Annoyingly, Tilly and his birthday celebrations got in the way of what would have been a great photo of enamel teapots… Enamel teapot lover #4

 

We’ve even had neighbours who have wanted to get in on the enamel teapot loving action (dress standards apply)…

enamel teapot, candlemaking supplies, beeswax candles

Trent – enamel teapot lover extraordinaire

 

Over the same years we’ve always bought extra when we were ordering and offered them for sale with our candlemaking supplies.  We ran out of the plain one’s (the same as what we use) several years ago and were unable to source more, but recently we happened upon another batch.  So, with no further ado, I present to you, the ultimate candle making (and tea making… and camping) accessory…. enamel teapots.

enamel teapots for beeswax candlemaking so you don't bumble beeswax candles

Enamel teapots – available in pastel yellow, blue and green

… now available in pastel yellow, pastel blue and pastel green… made tough and built to last (if you keep from falling onto concrete… or tile… or any hard surface for that matter).

Over and out.

CB xx

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I’ve had a rule at Queen B for the past decade which is that having access to someone’s inbox is a privilege and if I don’t have anything befitting that privilege to say, then I stay quiet.  It seems to breach every currently practiced law of marketing, but then again I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drum… Funny, I just caught myself out…  I was about to say “I don’t like to follow rules” but if you saw the list of rules that I live my life by you’d laugh.  Let’s just say that my rules are a bit different to normal business rules!

So, why the blog post then?  Two reasons… firstly, the volume of emails and calls from you guys checking in to see whether I was OK has been escalating! (heartening to know you care).  Secondly, we’ve been doing a big clean up from last year and “Second’s World” at the hive is full and needs emptying.  And that means there are some bargains to be had.

Here’s a list of what we’ve got going (on a first come, first served basis):

bargain beeswax candles with slight blemishes

A brief glimpse into the delights awaiting homes in Seconds World

You know what else I’ve realised in writing this post?… I’ve actually missed it.  You know how when a loved one has been away for a while and you’re a little anxious about their return?  Will it be the same?  Will they still like me?  (does my bottom look big in this?!)

Sure, I promise (again) to only write when I feel I have something interesting and/or edifying and/or relevant to say BUT in truth I think I was just having a bit of trouble getting back on this horse.  Now that I’m here, I’m wondering what I’ve been fussing over.  It’s great to be back.  May 2014 be happy, healthy, fun, filled with laughter and may it be filled with the beautiful light that nature provided for us in the guise of beeswax candles.

(Belated) happy new year loved ones.

Cate xx

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The idea of a skull candle occurred to me in about March this year when I was thinking about Earth Hour.  I wanted to create a candle that was about the interplay of humanity and nature, our interdependency and humankind’s destruction of nature… how we weep or lament the damage being caused but how there is also a fragile beauty both in nature and humans.  I wanted it to speak visually about the fire within and the glow in someone’s eyes when they’re talking about something that they’re passionate about.  [Seriously, my mind has a life of it's own, I am just a casual observer most of the time.  Note to self - stop overthinking everything]!

Anyway, from the idea I then went into designing the form that our candle would take.  A skull with vines intertwined around the head and deep, sunken eyes so that it could cry “beeswax tears” and to frame the flame (trying saying that 10 times fast with a glass of bubbles under your belt)!  From there we went into mould making and then wick testing.  About 3 months had passed by now.

Because this was such an important piece to me I commissioned a local craftsman to make wooden coffins for each of the skulls.  There’s another month.

No sooner than I had nailed the right wick and the positioning for the wick (the video below is the final wick testing video) than I raised my head to see what was going on in the world and realised that skulls had become… wait for it… trendy!  Quelle horreur.  We set trends, or eschew trends completely at Queen B, we certainly don’t follow them.  So I parked the project – and gave a couple away to friends.

Enter Matt Stone, friend and chef, who mentions them in a story in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald!  My cover was blown and the phone didn’t stop.  Even then I stuck to my guns and said we weren’t selling them!

Step in a wise soul who told me to get over myself and to allow our customers to decide.  So, it’s over to you.  With no further ado, I like to introduce you to our Limited Edition Beeswax Skull Candle (in wooden coffin).  We’ve had 50 coffins made and I’m off to have them laser engraved and numbered in the morning.  We’ll be ready to ship them by Friday (this week) – well in time for delivery prior to Christmas.  There are only 50 up for grabs.

Beeswax Skull Candle from Queen B pure beeswax candles vines adorning outside of skull candle Pure beeswax skull candle on hand made wooden coffin Pure beeswax Skull Candle from Queen B on Australian made wooden coffin

Here is a video that I took of the beeswax tears and a few of the photographs from wick testing. Eyes truly are the windows to the soul

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The video is set to one of my favourite songs which is There is a Better Place by Crazy Penis (now Crazy P) from their Album The Wicked Is Music.

Beeswax skull candle with eyes aglow as it burns

skull candle from Queen B pure beeswax candles

beeswax tears of gold from Queen B Skull Candle

Skull candle by Queen B bee wax candles

Note: there is a trick to getting the beeswax tears which is to burn the candle for 3 – 4 hours each time you light it.  The candle needs to be able to burn the full width of the skull (and hence the eye sockets) in order to lament!

Love to hear your thoughts

Cate xx

 

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… and you’re invited!

VIP Christmas Shopping night

 

 

If the thought of braving a Westfield car park at this time of year horrifies you, come shopping at Queen B.  There’s oodles of parking, Australian made gifts for everyone from the blokiest bloke to the girliest girl AND we’ll have lots of one off specials on the night.  We’ve even got Mitch staying late so that you can watch the candles being made.

If you’re coming from afar, why not come along with a friend (or 3) and have a champagne on us and then dinner in Manly or Dee Why?

Looking forward to catching up with some of you then.

Cate xx

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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