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Posts Tagged ‘bees’

Wow!  What an amazing response.  Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to vote.  Turns out you’re a clever bunch agreeing entirely with the eminent judging panel and also picking my other favourite!  Yes, that’s right, we’re going to be launching 2 new designs.

The winner of the design competition is Nectar by Bec Cooper.  We’ll be announcing the launch date and the chosen colour/s within the next couple of weeks.

Designer beeswax candles - who thought non toxic could look so good

Nectar – Mint, Cool Grey, White

 

We’ve chosen “DC”‘s comment as the winning comment – “Nectar! The design holds my gaze and changes as I look at it — rather like a flickering candle flame does. It contains tumbling cubes, snowflakes, and honeycomb-like hexagons.”

This year voting was incredibly tight and interestingly there were different, clear winners depending on where the voting happened.  The other clear favourite was Lily by Melissa Nalder, so we’re planning a launch for that too!

ISCD Queen B design collaboration - bringing designer values to beeswax candles

Lily – Charcoal, Silver, White

 

We’ll be making launch date and colour announcements shortly.  A big thank you again to design luminaries, Louise Olsen and Stephen Ormandy for their time and sharing their expertise and insight in judging this year’s finalists.  I have found it rare to meet people so talented and successful who are so down to earth, generous and caring.

Thank you again for sharing your thoughts.  It is only with your feedback and involvement that Queen B can continue to create light that is loved by the community we seek to serve.

Cate xx

 

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You may have noticed I’ve been a little quiet of late… I was busy living one of my dreams!

As someone who is passionate about taking the best of what nature has to offer and then perfecting the craft of utilising it, I have long been a fan of Dom Perignon.  In this day and age of mechanisation and the mass production of everything, I love it on that rare occasion where tradition (and the recognition that often hand made is simply better) prevails – and Dom Perignon is one of those rare examples… the grapes picked by hand.  The bottles riddled by hand.

You may recall, because I blogged about it here, that a couple of years ago I did a light sculpture for Dom Perignon at Vue de Monde.  Researching for the sculpture I was fascinated by the long history of monks keeping bees with Dom Pierre Perignon a monk of the Benedictine order (DOM = Deus Optimus Maximus – the highest ‘rank’ of monk) and their history with making beeswax candles.  The sculpture itself is not a candle but utilises the translucent beauty of beeswax whilst celebrating the iconic Dom Perignon bottle.

Anyway, finally this year I fulfilled my dream of visiting the abbey where Dom Perignon lived (and the caves where Dom Perignon is now made and matured).  As it turns out, Rocco (Wine Director at Vue de Monde) told them I was someone important and I was given the royal, VIP treatment.  A more worthy person would just take in their stride… I kept on pinching myself!

Wanting to share it, I felt that the images alone were too static and didn’t do it justice, so I put this little something together… escape to the Champagne region in France even if it is only for a couple of minutes.  Goodness knows I’ve relived it many times in the past few weeks.

Cate xx

 

 

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

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

“Hi Cate,

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

 

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OK, so this post borders on narcissism, BUT anyone who makes a product will tell you that there is nothing like the thrill you get when you see it loved in someone’s home.  And so, a few photographs that I snapped when I was staying with Joost & Jen (+ girls, dog, chooks & bees)…

Bee Bottles, Vases & Jars

Bee Bust & other assorted Queen B goodies

Broken bottles from Dom installation & Queen B reversible candleholders

Joost’s beehives… pollinating his 9 acres of flowers & veggie patch

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We’ve had quite a few kids into the hive recently which gives me the occasion to wax lyrical about all things honeybees, beeswax and honey.

The thing that usually has the most misconceptions surrounding it is what beeswax is exactly.  So, here are a few things you may not have known about beeswax…

  1. Beeswax is produced by wax glands on the underside of the abdomen of a bee.  It is clear liquid when exuded and becomes wax upon contact with air.

    Bees' wax glands

    Bees' wax glands

  2. Worker bees are usually allocated to wax production between 12 – 18 days of age! (is there something there for Gen Y perhaps?!)  The bees collect the wax with their legs and then chew it to soften it and make it malleable (to make the honeycomb structure in which they store flower nectar to ripen into honey.
  3. Beeswax is clear/white when exuded.  Discolouration occurs when the wax is stained by honey, pollen, propolis (or by beekeepers overheating the wax).  To read more about why Queen B candles are so light in colour, read our blog post on Why The White Wax Queenie?
  4. A bee makes around 10 nectar gathering trips per day (and can carry 25 – 5- milligram’s of water or nectar per trip).  Flower nectar is simply ‘unripened’ honey.  It takes 82kgs of nectar (ie around 165,000 trips) to make 1kg of honey.  In the course of those 165,000 trips, worker bees will fly around 4 million kms’ (100 times around earth).
  5. Bees consume a lot of energy in the production of wax using around 8 – 10kgs of honey to produce 1kg of wax.

This is some of the unspoken magic in every Queen B candle.  There is literally thousands of hours of bee flight and the work of thousands of honey bees in every single candle.  Don’t get me wrong, bees like to work hard.  It’s in their DNA.  They are born and literally start working immediately.  It is quite something to observe.  However it is still lovely to acknowledge that as you enjoy the beautiful golden light of your Queen B candle.

Of course, after all that hard work by our bee sisters, we treat our beeswax like gold at Queen B.  It is thoroughly washed, settled and filtered over 48 hours to remove any impurities (like pollen, propolis or dust) all of which have a massive impact on how a beeswax candle burns.  Having clean, unadulterated beeswax is just as important as finding the right wick in creating Queen B candles.

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The rest of my “Highlights from Tassie” posts appear in no particular order.  They were all equally magical in their own way.

The one I’m sharing today is about my favourite work of art at MONA (the Museum of Old and New Art) in Tasmania.  I am confident that it was not a curated part of the exhibition, but if art is something that provokes an emotional response, that makes you stop and ponder, that is visually grabbing and that inspires you, then this was, hands down, the highlight for me.

OK, so I’m not going to win any cinematography awards, the resolution is dodgy and whatever I was doing that makes the click, click sound is a little annoying, BUT these are my highlights and unfortunately that is the best that I can do to share with you what was a completely profound and beautiful moment, indeed one of the 4 most profound and beautiful moments in 2 ½ weeks in Tassie… which is only a reflection on my camera skills, not on the rest of my time in Tassie.

Hopefully it will inspire you to look for more bees in your day and watch with delight as they go on their merry way.

 

[BTW the building is also striking and stunning and the rest of the art was, I thought, variable but entertaining].  MONA request on their website that photographs of the art not be published without permission… so we’ll just stick to the building and my favourite work of art.  I really hope you enjoy it too.  There is something so delightful about seeing nature in all its glory and loving itself sick!  The garden was pumping like a mardi gras dance floor.  Flitting here and there.  Sequins and tiara’s.  Bum waggles.  A touch of pink.  And oh so beautiful to watch!

[No, I’m not outing myself, I love a gay man as much as all of us other single Sydney chicks too terrified of getting hurt!]

MONA Gallery, Tasmania

MONA Gallery, Tasmania

I only realised the irony of this photograph later... I wonder if he chose the t-shirt specifically?

I only realised the irony of this photograph later... I wonder if he chose the t-shirt specifically?

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I’ve recently set up a new business with a good friend, Bruce White OAM (got to love those initials)!

Bruce was the gem who set up the hive for me on my balcony, and as anyone who has read this blog would know, I am completely obsessed with my balcony bees!  So I got to thinking that more people needed to be able to have bees – not just for the joys of managing bees, but because more and more people have veggie patches in the city and that means we need more and more bees in the city for pollination (not to mention the parks and gardens).  By now you can work out where the business name – Bees In The City – came from!  Imaginative huh?!

Of course, I am an expert in running businesses that make no money (and Bruce is a bit of an expert at that too), so the challenge became a way of making the venture viable.  Hence the idea to do hives for restaurants and hotels.  We provide the hives and the management expertise and honey extraction equipment and services and they have the job and benefit of using their own honey in their restaurant or selling their own honey.

Anyway, I used DesignCrowd to run a logo design competition and would love your thoughts.  You can see the shortlist and case your vote here – http://www.designcrowd.com/vote/cast-your-vote-bees-in-the-city-new-logo.

Recently my candlemaker, who had never seen a beehive before (even though we have random scout bees scoping our premises daily), came to see my hive.  I love the sequence of photographs below which occurred in less than half an hour!

BEFORE realising how gentle bees really are

BEFORE realising how gentle bees really are

AFTER realising how gentle bees really are

AFTER realising how gentle bees really are

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