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Archive for the ‘Queen B Products’ Category

Forgive me the heading please?!  It is more befitting than it seems.  After weeks of testing I’m a very excited to finally be able to show you our Elaborate Egg candle.

pure beeswax carved egg shaped candle

Two parts stunning and one part delicious, this beauty burns for no less than 30 hours.  It’s approximately 12cm tall and 7cm wide at it’s widest point.  This is something for Easter that not only has no calories, but can take off pounds (simply turn off the lights and fire her up… everyone looks better by candlelight)!

Our Elaborate Egg beeswax candle comes packaged in a beautiful, biodegradable sinamay bag.

Carved egg beeswax candle in biodegradable sinamay bag packaging

 

It’s 6.30am and I’m off to the Easter Show today to volunteer at Honeyland.  No more appropriate a blog post for this morning then than one about honey aroma-ed beeswax candles in the shape of an egg!  Great eggspectations indeed!  You can find our Elaborate Egg candle on the Queen B beeswax candles website here.

I hope you have a gorgeous week.

Cate xx

carved easter egg beeswax candle

Just one more because she’s completely stunning!

 

 

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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

—-  

====

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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Sometimes the beauty (or beautiful effect) of something catches me a little by surprise… our new Spinning Butterfly Candleholder was just such a thing.  Made from stainless steel, it is pretty to look at, but it really comes to life with a Queen B pure beeswax tealight candle in the bottom of the candle holder.

 

Putting together this video I was also just loving A Candlelit Window by Ingrid DuMosch (from her Sleep Softly Emily album)… so it went from being a 30 second video to a compilation of the 2 video’s that I took just so that it would play more of the song!  Please note that the holder does not play music… that was a feat of brilliance using iMovie!  Jerkiness of the video courtesy of me (and Canon)!

Because we wouldn’t want you using the holder in your home with toxic tealights, we’ve bundled the holder with a pack of our best-selling 4-5 hour beeswax tealight candles (it’s the box of 9 of them).

 

 

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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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A few months ago I was contacted by Kirsten McCulloch of Sustainable Suburbia fame to see if I would be willing to contribute to a book she was writing about reducing and eliminating the toxins we take in.  That was a complete no brainer.  I said yes!

Well, Kirsten’s dream has come true and Less Toxic Living: How to Reduce Your Everyday Exposure to Toxic Chemicals – An Introduction For Families goes on sale today.  In an extraordinary act of generosity, the eBook is completely free.  Printed copies are also for sale at US$12.99.  There is bonus content available for anyone who buys the book or downloads the free version prior to Tuesday, 3rd December 2013.  Please use the code QUEENB for the special bonuses.  Yes, free and bonuses.  Who’s your mamma?!

Less Toxic Living, Sustainable Suburbia, eliminate chemicals

Yep… co-author! Going to have tickets on myself soon!

As I planned this blog post, I asked Kirsten with two questions.  Following are her responses:

1. We all lead busy lives, if you had to prioritise 10 things that someone can do for maximum impact to reduce everyday exposure to toxic chemicals, what would they be?

1. Avoid the most pesticide laden food.

Get to know the “dirty dozen” and “clean fifteen” and the Australian version released by the Friends of the Earth last year (though it’s not based on as much research as the US version, but useful as a guide). For the worst offenders, grow your own or buy organic.

2. Remember that your skin is your largest organ and think about what you are putting on it.

Anything you wear daily, or that you use over a large area (like body lotion or sunscreen) those are your first cosmetics to consider. There are lots of safer brands (check out www.safecosmeticsaustralia.com.au for some options), or if you really want to know what you are putting on your skin, you can make your own. If you want to try that, the book contains a few easy products to start you off.

3. Open the window

Unless you live in a really polluted area, open your doors and windows. For more Australians, the build-up of toxic chemicals in your house, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like formaldehyde, is much higher than that outdoors. You can also grow houseplants to help reduce VOCS.

4. Vacuum regularly with a HEPA filter.

Again, the typical build-up of toxic chemicals in the dust, including brominated fire retardants from your mattress, couch and carpet, is fairly scary.

5. Take off your shoes

Along those same lines, take of your outdoor shoes when you enter your home. You’ll be amazed how much less dust comes in.

6. Switch to non-toxic cleaning products.

Start with one: whichever cleaning product you use the most, switch it out for something non-toxic. An all-purpose spray cleaner is really easy to make, for instance. Almost everything in the house can be cleaned with baking soda, washing soda, vinegar and soap, and again there are some easy recipes in the book to start you off.

But again, if you don’t want to make your own, there are some commercial brands that are quite good. I would choose one product and find out what the typical nasties in that one are (I cover this for a selection of products in the book, but The Chemical Maze is great for this – it even has an app now, which I have on my phone), then check your chosen “safe” brand and make sure those ingredients aren’t in it.

7. Stop eating processed “foods”

Look, I am not a purist and I don’t pretend to do everything “right” even close to all the time. The occasional processed food isn’t going to kill you. But make it occasional, not part of your daily diet. If you eat a lot of processed food right now, then choose one meal a day to cut it out.

8. Choose plastics with the recycling symbols #4 & #5.

Avoid phthalates and BPA leaching into your food and skin by avoiding those plastics. There is more detail about this in the book. Some other plastics can be okay, but those are the safest.

9. Get rid of synthetic fragrances.

That means in cleaning products, air fresheners, candles and cosmetics. Fragrances are considered “proprietary knowledge” and therefore the individual chemical components don’t need to be listed. But there are thousands of chemicals that can be included, and when the US National Institute of
Occupational Health and Safety evaluated 2983 fragrance chemicals they found that 884 were toxic.

10. Switch out your candles!

Of course, if you use a lot of candles, you must stop using paraffin-based, scented or coloured candles now! Go with 100% pure beeswax for a healthier glow!

I’m not sure why candle come in 10th given every home has them and most people use them, but that’s beside the point (and I may be just a smidgen biased in thinking that this is a BIG issue and we need to be having the conversation loud and fast given the explosion in toxic, scented, paraffin and soy sludge candles that are being sold).

and, the next most obvious question:

2. What is your background and what inspired you to write this book?

I’ve been on a journey to reduce the toxins in my life, and my family’s, for a while now. Part of how that started was when I was trying to get pregnant and had been told I might miscarry a few times. I figured whatever I could do to decrease that risk would be good, and I started to really focus on what I was putting in my body.

Then having kids of course you start to think about more than just what you are putting in your body. What are they being exposed to through their toys, the water, the air they’re breathing?

Added to that, a little over 12 months ago, my cousin was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I suddenly had another motivation to take this journey a step further. She’s three week’s younger than me, and we’d both recently turned forty, and joked about how it’s all downhill from here. When my sister, and then step-father, were both diagnosed with bowel cancer a matter of months later, it was time to take action.

Did you know that 75% of the chemicals in everyday use in Australia have never been tested for human or environmental toxicity? Well, of course you do if you have read my book! And it’s just astounding to realise how many of the products on our supermarket shelves contain known and suspected carcinogens. They may be in small doses, but when they are all added together, and combined with other chemicals, how small is the dose then? And how do those chemicals interact in our bodies? The answer is, we just don’t know.

I was prompted to write this book partly by how overwhelming I found it when I started doing some solid research. I wanted to provide a way for people to start making changes without needing to feel overwhelmed. That’s why I called it Less Toxic Living, not non-toxic. There’s no such thing as non-toxic living in Australia today. But there are plenty of ways to reduce our exposure to nasty chemicals, and some of them are quite simple.

And at the same time, there’s a mass of information out there, in in-depth books, blogs and magazines. So I wanted to bring some of that together to give people some easy ways to change their lives, and some resources for where to go if they want to get more in-depth.”

 

I hope you  find the book interesting reading… certainly food for thought.

Cheers

Cate xx

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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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One of our greatest challenges has always been to create beautiful gifts for the ≤ $15.00 price point… something that packs a powerful gift punch without putting too much of a strain on your wallet.  It’s the perfect sustainable corporate staff or client gift.  And (without wanting to appear to have tickets on our hive), I think we’ve nailed it!  I am deliriously excited to announce our newest product in the Queen B range… Sweetness & Light.

 

Sweetness and Light - sustainable australian made corporate gift idea

Sweetness & Light – the perfect, sustainable, Australian made little gift

Each box contains 2 x Jam Jar Tealights + 1 jar of Australian honey (our current batch is yellow box honey).

rosh hashana, corporate sustainable eco gift idea, queen b pure beeswax candles

I know it’s not polite to blow one’s own trumpet, but seriously, how gorgeous is this packaging? (or do I just need to get our more?)… it’s 100% recycled Australian card, printed with soy ink and printed in Australia

This is the perfect little gift to say:
thanks
I’m thinking of you
happy house warming
you’re a wonderful hostess
I’m sorry
I think I’m meant to be sorry
I love you
I like you lots
bomboniere
I just want to seduce you
happy barmitzvah / batmitzvah
you’re a great friend
you’re doing a great job
here, have a little time for you
we’re having an eco wedding
I’ve got you what everyone wants for a kris kringle

queen b beeswax candles and honey for eco gift wedding idea or bombonniere

Sweetness and Light – beautiful no matter what angle you look at it from!

For 24 hours only (ie for our most engaged followers) for every 4 Sweetness & Lights you order, we’ll send you a 5th one for free.  Offer expires 12.30pm 6th November 2013. To qualify you must write “Thank goodness for bees” in the comments field!  Not on an email later.  Not when you get your order.  Not over the phone.  You must write it in the comments field when you order!!

PS If you work in a business, can you also please tell your boss about this amazing little gift!

Thanks

Cate xx

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