Go back to days of pleasant memories
Sammamish couple opens their home to visitors for the holidays
January 3, 2001: By Irv Shear
Sammamish Review Editor

   Hundreds of holiday guests to the Shedd home are transformed back into time when life was simple and memories everlasting.

   Villages denote the snow and stillness of Alpine Village, Christmas scenes in New York around 1800, and New Year's celebration in Times Square, Dickens' Merry Olde England, New England seafaring village, North Pole, Snow Village, and many more displays that fill very nook and cranny of the Shedd's 4,000 square foot home in the Sahalee section of Sammamish.

   "It's our traditional greeting to everyone, "Claradell Shedd said smilingly.

   This annual holiday open house attracts some 500 people every year during the holiday season to admire, marvel, and just stare with admiration and eyes glistened with memories at the thousands of displays inside the Shedd residence.

   Each village is surrounded with distinctive music, hand-made wall and ceiling fabric, and ornaments to enhance each display.

   There are life-like miniature solders marching in London, the smell of clam chowder wafting from a New England fishing village, authentic replicas of a corner drugstore and the first McDonald's restaurant, and horse and buggy rides.

   Visitors who arrive hoping to do a swirling tour of the displays end up spending many hours looking and examining each display.
   "We once had someone call from Seattle saying he had just 15 minutes." Claradell said. "He wound up spending three hours looking at the displays, and said he could have spent many more hours."

   Another guest, a Boeing engineer, was totally amazed with how each display was put together.

   "He came and just looked and looked at each display from all angles," she said.

   The Shedds purchased their first village building in December 1994 from a Minneapolis firm, and continue to add to their display every year. The value of each building is priceless, with many now valued at four to five times their original price, they said.

   Then the artistic, persistent, and creative talents of Harry and Claradell Shedd add their personal touch to each display from music to tapestry, making each village come alive with authenticity. Search for fabric and material has taken the couple to shops near and far to find just the appropriate material and decorations.

   Assembling each display was a challenge, first finding the room, rearranging and, in most cases, covering furniture, then hiding the maze of wiring that makes it all come alive and realistic. Each display takes hundreds of hours to complete.

   They have run out of room, so Harry built an extra room for Claradell's workshop, and, of course, more displays.

Harry and Claradell Shedd greet visitors with smiles and villages.

Snow Village, one of the many displays at the Shedd Sammamish home.
   Claradell turns ordinary cloth into refinements of rich surroundings for each display in a labor of love.

   Her magic with quilting and needlepoint laboriously produced a special 8-by-8 foot quilt with pictures that trace the life of Juneau artist Rie Munoz. The quilt, which won a blue ribbon at the state fair, hangs in the Munoz Juneau Art Gallery. http://www.hshedd.com/fairexhibit/index.htm

   Claradell's talents abound. She creates life-like gift packages with miniature characters and special fusion wrapping for friends, generally incorporating music and lights in her wrapping.
Some examples of the wrapping is on a website devoted to that subject.

   Hand-made fabric and ornaments surround each display with music matching the village motif.

   First Floor: Dickens' Olde English fox and hounds decor. Upholstery fabric covers the walls to coordinate with the sofa fabric. Tree decorated with fox and hounds ornaments, motion-activated Santa, heirloom Christmas tree made of beads. Dicken' Ramsford Palace with soldies marching to Sousa's music played by John Williams and the Boston Pops Orchestra.

   Second Floor: Dickens' Abbey and Kensington Palace, Christmas in the City/New York Times tower recreating the famous dropping of the lighted crystal ball on New Year's, North Pole/Toy Soldier Shop with snowflakes, the famous Trapp Village with music from the "Sound of Music," Country Village, New England community complete with the smell of chowder and sounds of gulls, Alpine Village with the serenity of "Silent Night" and scenes from life on a rural farm reminiscent of Claradell's childhood days.

   The Shedds' holiday open house continues through January 14. Call 868-0260 to schedule a visit.
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