Wednesday, 6 February 2013

How Much Stuff Do We Really Need ?


Who would have thought that a single peg could make one person think so much.

                                   But it did !

Many years ago now I  was at a yard sale. I was scouring over a big table of dolls that the lady was selling. She was avid collector of dolls and antiques and she had some really interesting things for sale.  I picked up one really old doll and when I did,this tiny little peg doll came to my attention.
She was the smallest thing on the table but somehow she screamed at me to pick her up.

I don't know exactly what was about her that caught my eye that day,  but she actually led me to a very valuable life lesson.

This humble peg doll had been made around war time when money was scarce and toys were a forgotten luxury.  More than likely,a mother made this little dolly for her daughter to play with.
Her tiny clothes have been made with scraps of really strong linen cotton. I guess that's how she has lasted as long as she has. There is a little cross painted on the front of her dress suggesting that she is a little nurse.
'Peg' as I lovingly call her got me thinking from the moment I locked eyes on her.

She made me think about life during those times of war when everyday possessions were scarce.  People used their creativity to make do with what they had.  People used their idle time  for handcrafts.  They would make  clothes, embroider on old scraps of a sheet or crochet a hanky for a special occasion.
Birthdays for children consisted of a birthday cake (if they were lucky) and a new pair of socks or a new  Sunday shirt.  There was no sign of an expensive electronic game or televisions.  Appreciation came with gusto because one had to work so hard to eat let alone buy expensive gifts.

Miss 'Peg' was one of those creative things that people made, to entertain their children.  I think she is a cutie and a wonderful way that people showed nurses in war times. The nurses worked so hard to care for the sick and injured. They showed compassion and kindness and were well respected.
'Peg' may have even been the lady in residence in little wooden home made dollhouse.  I'm sure if she could talk then she would certainly have a tale to tell. Tales of yester year.

'Peg' woke me up all of those years ago to how much 'stuff' do we really need to sustain a happy healthy life.

and you know what ?
I really don't think that we 'need' to have so many extra things in our homes. Is it really necessary to have more than one bathroom in a house ?  Have we as a world become so completely obsessed with 'stuff' that we have lost sight of our purpose.
Yes I think so !

Of course I included have been led to thinking that a bigger house will be better for raising our children. Maybe a home 5 minutes closer to the beach will give us insane amounts of happiness ?
                                                                       REALLY ?

Maybe a more modern car or the latest fashion item will bring that happiness ? 
                                                        DO YOU REALLY THINK SO ?

I think back to the 1920's where my Grandmother and Grandfather were raising a young family, trying very hard to make ends meet during pre and post war times and yet as tight as they were for money for themselves, they had Aunties , Uncles and even neighbours living in their small 3 bedroom home by the beach.   YES THE BEACH !  The beach was a very cheap location many years ago. The land by the sea was reserved for the less wealthy people. These people were the true working class people who helped to put our country on the map.
Even when times were tough, these people opened their homes to others and gave them a much needed place to stay and a meal in their stomachs.  Bodies slept in all sorts of places. The back veranda/porch, a couch, a makeshift daybed that would serve in the daylight hours as a place to sit.
Those old cane daybeds that are often seen at antique stores or flea markets had very humble beginnings. They were bought cheaply to not look pretty but to serve a very real purpose.
Today we buy them to decorate a room or veranda. We buy pretty scatter cushions to decorate them with where as once upon a time people used whatever scraps they could find to make cushions for these same daybeds.

It makes you think doesn't it ?   How much 'STUFF' do we really need to live a happy life.
Shouldn't we be more focused on being happy with the simple things in life ?
Every time I walk down the street and see people walking past on their phones drinking coffee I wonder how on earth the human race became this way. Once upon a time we would sit and enjoy a cup of coffee at home and make a phone call in privacy.
I can't help but feel that we are very quickly losing sight of enjoying simple things that life has to offer. We rush from place to place thinking that we need to finish tasks before the end of the day when really we have to ask is it truly necessary ?


Thank you so much Peg for keeping it real for me and reminding me to slow down, smell the roses and appreciate what is already lying right in front of me today.  I will be forever grateful to you for giving me this gift.   Times have certainly changed and we definitely have to keep up with the times BUT we must enjoy what is really important right now rather then what else we can do to improve our happiness.
'STUFF' isn't the key to happiness. But you know what is ?

Tomorrow I will be bringing you all my first THURSDAY FLOWERS post for the year. I hope that you will pop back then to see what I have made this week at floristry school !  


  1. Lovely post, good Melanie! I like thinking about how people had great character during the times of scarcity. The simple things are best. I want to shovel out a bunch of the stuff in our house and keep things less fussy and complicated. Good words.
    Yay for Peg!

  2. Peg is so lovely! My sister and I made peg dollies when we were little, for ourselves and also for the church fete along with lavender bags.