When I was a kid, one of the most common things to hear my mother say was, “Is nothing sacred!?” She would say this when something – usually her nice sewing scissors – of hers went missing. The assumption was that one of us kids (usually me!) had borrowed the missing item.
Yesterday, I caught myself sounding just like my mother. I didn’t forget the setting rubber for a change, and was there at just the right time to add the marbles. Only there weren’t any marbles. Someone had borrowed them. Or I lost them. (Now I see why my mother never seemed really angry when she complained about our rather vague notions of ownership; she couldn’t rule out the possibility that she had misplaced the thing herself!) I ransacked our house, and could only scare up two small marbles.
That wouldn’t give me enough keys to hold the plaster backing, so I scrambled to find something – anything! – round. That’s when I found the extra Cub Scout recognition kit I purchased last year. (Tiger Cubs are forever losing those achievement beads, so I wanted to have plenty of replacements.) Those big beads were just about the same size as a small marble, so I thought they might work in a pinch.
Not only did they work, they were better than the marbles! The hole through the middle meant I had a place to pry the bead loose once the rubber cured. Even more important, the slick plastic surface didn’t bond to the rubber, so the beads came out clean. You can see the the tears around the two right hand keys where the marbles bonded to the rubber. Marbles have surprisingly porous surfaces, so I lose a portion of them with each mold when they become permanently gunky with rubber. The beads came out clean, so I’ll be able to reuse this same pack of beads each time.