If you have found me because of a little piece of paper, or a search engine, welcome!
This website is incredibly easy to navigate, if you can tap, scroll, or poke you can do it. There are no pop-ups, no adverts, it is all for free and I am not trying to sell you anything or help anyone else sell you anything. I know there is an empty shop arranged along the top bar. There was a working shop before the old computer fell over and the shop will be filled just as soon as my son, who is the technical expert has taught his idiot mother (that would be me) how to get things into this new shop. Apparently it is intuitive.
But only if you are under thirty.
Visiting the site will never be dependant upon buying something. What there will be for sale in the shop is for miniaturists. I have been making miniature porcelain dolls of my own design, from scratch via my own sculptures and moulds for thirty five years. The number of each item is one and they will only be for sale in the UK by post because of Brexit. You would find, if you were buying them elsewhere in the world, that taxes at the border might double the cost. However you will always find me at the dolls house show, Miniatura, at the NEC or Stoneleigh show ground. The dolls in the shop are there for adult miniaturists and collectors. Yes, there was a show on the telly, not very representative of the hobby, which hobby, over the last forty years, has featured professional artisans in every artistic discipline you can imagine. I had only been making dolls for a couple of years when I was asked to contribute to a magazine and wrote for various hobby magazines for fifteen years, only stopping when I became carer for my demented mother.
Writing for magazines involved interviewing artists, often those who were exhibiting at the NEC. As a glossy magazine can take months to come to press, the artists complained that the publicity was always too late: by the time I was able to tell collectors what was available, it was sold.
So I began this website thirteen years ago this autumn, to tell collectors what exhibitors were taking to the show. Everybody liked that. Exhibitors could email photos of the things that were finished just a week (sometimes the night) before the show and I could show visitors what was there. In a hall of two hundred tables full of tiny stuff, nothing got missed.
If you create an entity, however, it becomes itself.
I wrote the funny column for dolls house magazines (originally because I thought some collectors were so far up themselves there was no daylight) but got frequent requests from readers to be funny ‘about something else, for as long as a cup of tea’.
At shows people started running up to me, saying something, laughing and running away. When I eventually managed to get out from behind the table to catch them, I found they were quoting my own jokes at me.
There’s a lot of humour here. You can find it by clicking on the word humour in the tags section to the right. Like everything else in a blog the most recent posting comes up first. When you read a piece and get to the bottom, the piece that comes afterwards was written before. If you are just reading the whole column of articles at the bottom you click on ‘older posts’ to summon a new column of reading. You can also keep going back to humour, or anything else, and clicking on that.
Above the tags are the categories. They are the subjects that I am writing about. The first three are all for miniaturists and about miniatures. Astronomy will fill up as we go and I get to grips with a telescope, maybe.
The next category, Dementia Diaries, is huge. I am now on to my fifth friend or family member with dementia. This is a disease that affects families and friends almost as badly as the sufferer and can make carers very ill indeed. I have had cancer twice, each time after being a carer at my own expense for someone with dementia. I began writing the diaries when I became carer for my mother, who was difficult even before she became ill. I wrote to help others in the same position. I wrote what I had done, the agencies who had helped and those who had not, what could and could not be done to make things better and just the day to day experience of living with the disease. I was not writing to tell anyone what to do, just sharing my experience. I had found the situation to be one that can wake you in the night with the woes of the world going through your head. You cannot ring social services in the middle of the night but you can sit down with a cup of tea and read the blog and know at the least that you are not alone. The dementia diaries drew emails from round the world and still do.
The category below is dolls, which is about collector dolls, mine and other artists. The next two are humour. Knickerbocker Glory was a series of radio plays I wrote when Terry Wogan asked people to write a radio play; mine never got broadcast, although a play that I wrote in Dolls House World did get performed with doll shadow puppets and a bed sheet in a church hall in Canada, a place with very long winters. Lost Victorian Novels is just me being silly with an eye to all the classic Victorian novels we ploughed through at school, as is Mrs Beetroot. The Parrot has Landed is also humour. Nostalgia, I bet you can guess, is nostalgic (you’re getting the hang of this, I feel) and I’m willing to bet you’ve guessed that this posting will end up in the next one, Site Information. Things to make and do is just that.
Before I write a posting I am supposed to pick from a list what it is about, being human I don’t always remember to do this. When I forget, the computer shoves it in Uncategorised. It’s the third drawer down from the drawer with the spoons in, is Uncategorised, you could find anything in there. Green Shield Stamps, a hopeful cat lead, the spare keys for the car before last, and something strange which has gone brown and a bit organic, possibly a new life form.
Last is Werse. I was a published child poet and won prizes. I still break into verse occasionally, old habits die hard. I never succeeded as a poet as an adult, I am not thin enough and I wash my hair too often.
You can click around all over the page and site and you cannot damage anything or make anything disappear. You cannot buy anything by mistake and I have absolutely no idea what you are looking at or how you are dressed or what time of day it is at your end. There are readers who are clever enough to subscribe to other websites that alert them to a new posting here. I have never got the hang of any of this. If I like a website I put it in my favourites and just go and look regularly. I post here at least once a week, though if you are a new reader you have got thirteen years worth of postings to read through before that worries you.
If you wish to email me about something you have read, you just scroll down to the bottom of a posting and click on Leave a comment. This brings up a form that sends me your comment as an email. I will email you back. Occasionally I think other readers might be interested in what you have to say and I will post your comment which will be available at a click for others to read.
Because I used to be a journalist, of sorts, I only refer to actual people in the blog by their initials, and all the photographs are my own. You will not find anything here copied from another site. The OH is my other half, the S&H is my son and heir to all my debts, The DIL is the daughter in law, the GDD and the GDS grand daughter and grandson respectively. SMIL, who appears a lot currently, is my Step Mother In Law. She has dementia and is in a care home. During the lockdown she was well and helped by her son who lived nearby. He committed suicide and she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and moved by her daughter, who lived a few counties away, to a care home near her. I ring SMIL every day but am not always able to talk to her. I am getting to know the workers at the home very well.
Along the top line Cart, Checkout, My Account and so on are items that will either help you to shop when the shop is up and running (don’t hold your breath) and keep details on your computer which I will not be able to see, to help your computer find my computer if you want to shop. If, as and when, the shop is up and running I will post about it and how to use it and all the technical stuff. The links are to miniaturists’ web sites, they really need modernising and I will do it when I get a minute, or several.
I called the website Jane Laverick .com because that is my name, calling it Natalie Sprandangle would have had little relevance to me, I feel. (Though it’s quite a snappy name, if you’ve got a christening coming up, help yourself.)
And that is it.
Brew up a cuppa, pull up a chair, if you enjoyed this there is thirteen years of catching up to do. Email me and be a friend if you would like to, or just be a reader. There is nowhere to do thumbs up or ‘likes’ or any of that. I have hundreds of readers rather than thousands and do not benefit financially in any way by your reading. I just do it because I was asked to do it, to help people and found that it did and people liked it, so I continued.
It’s for you. Free reading.
Welcome new reader!