Slow Morning

comments: 85


It was supposed to rain this morning, but I don't think it actually did. It seemed like it was going to, though.

We have had exceptionally gorgeous weather here lately. Absolutely perfect. Prettier than I have ever seen, for days and days on end. What a gift.

I feel extremely disorganized lately. I have got to get my act together. I guess.

I'm sitting in an open window as I write this. When I was a little girl I was fascinated by things like window seats, dumbwaiters, butler's pantries, breezeways, and laundry chutes. My house didn't have any of these things, but I knew what they were from books. I was quite sure that when I grew up I would have a house that had a dumbwaiter. And shrubs that were cut into the shapes of animals (I was majorly into those). I think there is a scene in Harriet the Spy that involves a dumbwaiter. I read so many books about girls from New York City when I was little. There were a ton of them in the '70s and '80s, wasn't there? Or maybe those were just the ones I liked to read, having never been to NYC. Those were so cool. Can't remember the titles but I remember the books. I know I thought that if I ever did get to NYC I would know exactly what to do and where to go. Just like if I ever got to Walnut Grove. Not a problem.


I was obsessed with books about children in NYC when I was in grade school (mid eighties) also. I read lots of vintage books that were my mother's and aunts' and many of them were about girls living in apartment buildings in the city. Such a foreign concept to me! They had doormen! I also loved Harriet the Spy and From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. I visited the Met for the first time at age 14 and was completely enchanted experiencing that book in real life.

The reason we bought our house is because it has a dumbwaiter. It is blocked up now and the box is our bar but if we moved a few boards it could go down to the basement. The lady who built the house back in the early 1900's used to can and sent everything down in the dumbwaiter to the basemwnt where she had lots of shelves for storage. It was a major attraction for us to this house and we love our home.

Addition to the list: office building mail chutes. I worked in an older 12 story building in Seattle that has a single letter mail chute. On the ground floor you could see a train of envelopes flying down the chute from upper floors. There had to be jams - but I don't remember any or know what they would have done to un-jam it!

Wow, gorgeous picture. I love the new camera!

I have always been fascinated by those things, too. One day I want to live in a place where I can put the dirty laundry through a chute and it lands in a laundry basket next to the the washing machine.

I love those things too! From age 2-7, we lived in a house that had a laundry chute that began in my room. It was always temping to throw things down it that weren't laundry! A couple years later when my dad was designing the house he built, my sister and I begged him to put in a secret staircase or hidden door, but no such luck. Have you seen pictures of Martha Stewart's butler's pantry in her house in Maine? To die for.

Oh Walnut Grove. I just knew that I was supposed to grow up there. Though I was secretly terrified that I would've been too much of a goodie two-shoes to really be best buds with Laura.

Yes, Harriet the Spy hid in the dumbwaiter to spy on Mrs Agatha Plumber. I just moved to a big city high rise and I have a garbage chute on my floor just like in the books I read as a child. I remember one book in particular described that in detail. I can't recall the name of the book, but I think of it everytime I put my garbage down the chute.

Alicia, your words, your eye, plus your new camera = scrumdilyumptious perfection beyond words. Your photos are always wonderful, because you have a great eye. That photo uptop is glassy delicious it is so clear.


I wished for laundry chutes and stairs in my house ( chutes to jump into), oh how I wanted stairs.

I am such a scaredy cat now, but I was such a dare devil as a kid in many ways. I would have gone right down ;) And probably hurt myself badly.

My life is feeling crazy lately too.

I think I have my hands in too many pots. Lots of projects. But, it makes for lots of excitement!

Love, V

No fair about the weather! It's been marginal at best here. The sun peeks out around 6:30 or so when you've finally succumbed to the idea of another gray Seattle day. I am so bummed about this summer and am not entirely sure how I'll make it through this winter!!

ah the window seat....i didn't have the rest, but the window seat in my room was divine....looking out over the front yard into a big oak tree...i liked the tree in pollyanna and the thought of trying to climb down my tree always intrigued did not temp me because i did not want a broken leg, but i liked the thought. i am a bit older and did not know the books you speak of at the time, but loved the phyllis whitney and victoria hold gothics with the old scary houses with lots of nooks and crannies...what is a cranny clue. i wanted to be a governess because of those books. love the photo and want that muffin.

Julie G. in Iowa says: August 15, 2011 at 02:35 PM

Your little glass parfait dish/flower vase reminded me of the scene from the movie "A Good Year" (you know the one with Russell Crowe and Marion Cotillard) where the [Russell Crowe's] housekeeper plunks down a crystal bowl/vase filled with lavender. Funny how certain sights and sounds bring to mind snipets of movies and books.
BTW... why does your food always look so much yummier than mine? Hmpf!
p.s. What is that buttercream-colored chair in the background? So cute! Is it new?
I just realized I now sound like an Alicia-and-her-house stalker... please don't be afraid, I just read your blog every day. :D

As soon as I read the word "dumbwaiter" I thought of Harriet the Spy. I still have a thing for window seats.

holt...victoria holt....i've got to be more vigilant about my spelling...

We're building a new house and it's going to have a dumb waiter. It goes up to the top floor and ends in our boys' bathroom. So, it will be a laundry elevator as well! I remember reading about dumb waiters first in the Katie John books, which were set in Mississippi.

I love your new header image! Absolutely beautiful.

My favorite was From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is a novel by E. L. Konigsburg. I read it so many times my paperback fell apart. Oh, to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.....

i am still obsessed with dumbwaiters. our current home has a laundry chute that was a "little too used" by the kids so we sealed it up tightly at the top(tragic, isn't it?).
i always thought i'd know exactly what to do in NYC too--and who doesn't love a great window seat?
sounds like you had a peaceful, mulling-type morning. i hope it turned into a happy day!

MoniQ in WI says: August 15, 2011 at 02:44 PM

I still dream of window seats and dumbwaiters--and love to visit vintage homes. I *have* a laundry chute!!! (and in my Chicago days, easy access to the building trash chute!) And a fireplace and built-in "Library" shelves, and a front porch like my grandmother's *with* my grandmother's wicker sofa on it. I read all those NYC-girl books, and the Little House set, Anne of Green Gables. I pretended my Velvet with Growing Pretty Hair was a prairie girl long before American Girl dolls existed. *I* wanted to live in "the olden days." And, for the record, I bought myself a sunbonnet at the same time I got one for my daughter. Still want a window seat.

Ooh...Walnut Grove. Those 2 words make me sigh. What a pleasant place. I so wanted to be Laura.

I used to want a house with two staircases, but not to different storeys of the house. I wanted a main staircase and then a back staircase that would have once been used for servants - imagine the games of chase and hide and seek when one has another exit from upstairs!

Another thing I was desperate for was to discover a hidden room inside our house, that was something I wanted so badly. So far this is yet to happen but I live in hope!

You always set such a lovely table. So inspiring! Glad to hear you're having a wonderful summer!~

I grew up in California and have lived in New York City since age 21. One of my favorite "chapter" books is The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright. Originally published in 1941 and still in print, it traces the adventures of four siblings who live with their father and housekeeper in a NYC brownstone. It's part of a series called the Melendy Quartet. I spent many happy hours reading it aloud to my son.

FloridaLizzie says: August 15, 2011 at 03:14 PM

I know why you aren't getting much done--we lived in Oregon for 3 years, and everyone was off the hook when it was sunny, warm and beautiful. Enjoy it while it last, because you know the rain and gray skies will come back, and you won't get days like this forever. I once babysat in a home with an upstairs sunken living room. I thought I must have dreamed it, but the house was remodeled a few years ago, and my sister knew the owner. We walked through the whole house and I kept wondering where the sunken room was. Finally, the owner opened a bookcase upstairs, and there it was--the SECRET sunken room. That was the ticket! Too cool for words. Love the luminous photos you've taken.

I always wanted to be a pioneer girl...Ahhh, Walnut Grove. I read the Wilder books as an adult and then in 1976 I WENT to Laura's! To De Smet, actually, where the Little House on the Prairie was, saw Pa's cottonwoods, Laura and Almanzo's homesite, Ma and Pa's house in town...It was a wonderful visit, I had the best time and my imagination was in full force =-) I could just dive right into your photo today...heavenly!

Oh, man...this photo is so perfectly lovely. I didn't read much as a kid. I can tell I missed out on a lot...Glad you're enjoying nice weather. Something we're still looking forward to.

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.