The Simplistic Style and History of The Shakers

December 26th, 2015






Such pristine simplictic designs.  No shutters on these buildings.  I am so mesmerized and drawn to the stark pristine beauty.




Canning their produce and crops ensuring food all Winter long.


My son captures the most beautiful shots. Pure and simple beauty.


I absolutely love the pure white dishes and simple baskets lined on the open shelves.  I have a similar look in my kitchen, and is clear to see how the Shakers design continues to influence us hundreds of years later.






Photographed at The Hancock Shaker Village in Hancock Massachusetts.


1 (4 lb.) chicken, quartered

5 tbsp. butter, melted

1/2 c. cider

1 tbsp. grated lemon rind

1 c. heavy cream

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. fresh pepper

Cook chicken in hot butter until brown. Cover pan and continue cooking over low heat until tender, 30-40 minutes. Add cider and lemon rind and spoon liquid over chicken. If chicken seems to be drying, add cider before chicken is fully cooked. Remove chicken to warm platter. Quickly add cream and seasonings to pan and stir. Pour hot sauce over chicken. Serves 4-5.


The Paris House Version of Chicken in Apple Cider
I wanted to make this recipe more elegant and appropropriate for a dinner party I hosted while keeping it super easy and delicious.
* I used all organic chicken breasts, and sauteed them in butter and a little olive oil. Then removed them from the pan after they were golden brown.
* I deglazed my pan, scraping up the brown bits with a few tablespoons of ‘Apple Jack Brandy’
* Then I added 1 cup of good Farm purchased Apple Cider and reduced it over medium heat until it thickened up and became a bit ‘syrupy’
*I added salt pepper and a squeeze of lemon.
* Lastly I added 1 cup of heavy cream and a dollop of creme fraiche and combined over heat until thickened.
*Then put your chicken breasts and any juices back in the pan and heat through making sure they are cooked ( you could also warm them up in the oven if you like)
* I added sprigs of fresh Thyme and a bit more salt and pepper to taste.
This was all done in one pan on the stovetop and was very easy, very delicious and very elegant.

Shaker Lemon Bars (Adapted from Martha Stewart Living)


Begin step one the day before you plan to bake these cookies.


Makes about 5 dozen

• 2 lemons, washed and dried

• 2 cups plus 3/4 cup granulated sugar

• 2 1/4 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 3 cups all-purpose flour

• 4 large eggs, lightly beaten

• Confectioners’ sugar, for sifting


1. Slice lemons as thinly as possible; remove seeds. Toss slices with 2 cups sugar; transfer mixture to a flat resealable plastic container. Place in the refrigerator overnight.

2. Place butter, salt, remaining 3/4 cup sugar, and flour in the bowl of a food processor. Process until mixture is crumbly and starts to hold together.

3. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 12-by-17-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Press dough evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan, making sure there are no holes. There should be at least 1/2-inch crust of dough going up the sides of the pan. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, about 15 minutes

4. Place lemon-sugar mixture and eggs in the bowl of a food processor. Process until lemon rinds are in 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces, 30 to 40 seconds. Pour mixture over cookie crust. Bake until set, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Trim 1/2 inch around edges of pan. Cut into about sixty 1 1/4-by-2-inch pieces. Sift confectioners’ sugar over cookies.

From Martha Stewart Living, December/January 1999/2000 | Send a Free Preview Issue!

Recently my family and I took a quick vacation to the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts, an area filled with beautiful countryside, art, museums, music and the abundance of culture at Tanglewood.  While there we spent the day visiting Hancock Shaker Village.  Until this visit the first things I thought of when thinking of the Shakers were their simplistic designs specifically their furniture.   Before visiting anyplace I always do a little research. I want to know a little about the place before I get there, I don’t want to miss a thing and I want to ask a lot of questions and learn as much as I can.

The Shakers (The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing) or know as the Shaking Quakers because their worship services were so escatic they would often shake.  The Shakers began in 1747, and found Ann Lee or Mother Ann as she was referred to as their new leader. Mother Ann joined them by 1758 .  She asked her followers to confess thier sins, give up all their worldly goods, and take a vow of celibacy.  She felt that neither marriage nor giving in to marriage and celibacy was a prepartiaon for for the Kindgom.  However it certainly made growing their congretation very challenging as they needed to rely on converts and bringing in orphans to increase their size.  In 1774 Ann Lee and 8 of her followers made the journey from England to the States where they settled in The Colonie area of Upstate New York very close to Albany NY and not far from where I grew up in Upstate NY. Mother Ann continued to preach with great passion throughout the area and mostly in New England giving very powerful talks.  Although the Shakers represent an incredibly small group of followers they are however considered one of the most infuential, preaching in their communities knew no boundaries of education, gender or social class. No matter how limited in size their voice was it could not be ignored.  To this day they remain one of they greatest influences in furniture design which simplicity lends a modern timeless style that continues to influence some of the greatest designers and furniture makers.  Their collections are priceless.

Shaker Music,

“Simple Gifts” Alfred, ME- 1848

Used in worship for quick dance

“Tis the gift to be simple, Tis the gift to be free, ‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be; And when we find ourselves in the place just right, ‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.  When true simplicity is gain’d, To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed.  To turn, turn will be our delight ‘Till by turning, turning we come round right.”

The Shakers composed thousands of songs and created dances to go with them.  The were an incredibly important part of their worship services.  The recorded musical inspiration as it occurred. Many had no formal musical training and used a form of music notation called the letteral system. Many consisting of syllables and words from unknown tongues.  Many Shaker melodies are of extraordinary grace and beauty.  To this day, even though little is know regarding the Shaker song repertoire it remains an important part of the American cultural heritage and of world religious music in general. The few remaining Shaker’s continue to sing songs from both the earlier repertoire and the four part songbooks. The most famous Shaker song is “Simple Gifts” which Aaron Copland used as a theme in 1944 for variations in the ballet “Appalachian Spring”.  The tune was composed by Elder Joseph Brackett and originated in the Shaker community in Maine in 1848. Many contemporary Christian denominations incorporate this tune into hymnals, under various names, including “Lord of the Dance”, adapted in 1964 by English poet and songwriter Sydney Carter.

You may recognize “Simple Gifts” from President Barrack Obama’s inauguration as it was performed by Yo -Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman. Please visit here to listen to this lovely performance.


Fall Foliage Floral Design and Entertaining Class

September 10th, 2015
October 3, 2015

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Join us for our Fall floral design and entertaining class on Saturday October 2, from noon – 2pm. Hosted in our 200 year old magical chic farmhouse. all students take home their arrangement, enjoy light refreshments and recipes.  $65 per student

Paris House Couture Flowers and Gowns worthy of the Oscars

February 22nd, 2015
Paris House Couture

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Cakes, Flowers and all Designs by The Paris House (& a few travel photos)

October 28th, 2014


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Order “The Croaking Machine” children’s book in our Boutique!

June 24th, 2014

Our Delightful new book “The Croaking Machine” is available On Nook, Kindle in ebook format or in hardcover at Northshire bookstore in Manchester Vermont and Saratoga Springs, where I went to high school!  You can also easily purchase it here in my lovely boutique. Included are child friendly recipes. Strawberry Swamp Smoothies that your little Toads will surely love and a very easy homemade chocolate ant pie with gummy worms.

book description:

The Croaking Machine is a very excited little toad who croaks very, very loudly when he gets excited about something. This doesn’t always go over too well with his friends and classmates – especially when this loud croaking gets the class in trouble.  Through all his troubles, his best friend Stella is always there for him.  This is a story about being different than everyone else – and accepting the differences of others.  It shows that sometimes our unique traits and qualities can save the day and make us true heroes in the end. copy 21

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