I remember one of my brothers telling me he blamed Bert from Sesame Street for his own bottle cap collection as a child, because there was an episode where Bert placed the last bottle cap in the gap in his perfectly mounted collection and was happy. It looked so simple! So my brother began collecting bottle caps, hoping to achieve that same perfect sense of accomplishment when he had them all, only to discover that you can never have them all. He had many bottle caps before he realized there would be no perfect sense of completion to that project, and he let that collection go.
I grew up in a home of many collections. My husband whose home had more limited space did not. He's content to read everything on a Kindle, but I prefer real books that I can then add to my shelves. He doesn't crave physical reminders of places and events the way I do. His needs require far less storage than mine, and there are days I envy that. Especially as I watch my children attempt to save everything from everywhere and it becomes harder and harder to organize the clutter. I don't have much of a leg to stand on when I find my own rocks or Rubik's cubes impossible to part with, but find their bottle collections or piles of perler bead creations hard to bear.
But collecting, when managed properly, is fun. Our family Mold-A-Rama collection is fun. And when a collection reaches a certain size it becomes less about amassing things and more about filling in gaps. We'll never reach that perfect Bert moment of popping that last piece into place, but as we focus in on finding the things farther out of reach there is real satisfaction to placing figures on our shelves that are odd or harder to get.
Our best local source for finding new Mold-A-Ramas is the Brookfield Zoo down in Chicago. They have 13 machines but they rotate their molds frequently enough that we already have 24 figures from there. Our most recent acquisitions from the Brookfield Zoo we picked up the same weekend we returned from our Mold-A-Rama Road Trip to Florida. (The kids laughed at how short the drive to Chicago felt after having done the drive from Florida to Wisconsin in one straight shot. The amount of snow we had to tromp around in after a week of sunshine and beaches was not as amusing.)
We picked up a lion, a polar bear, a giraffe, a sea lion, and a panther. All figures we already had from elsewhere, but it was nice to know we had more of what the Brookfield Zoo had to offer. While we were there we also caught the dolphin show. After visiting the beaches in Sarasota where the researchers in Chicago go to do their dolphin work, it was funny to watch a dolphin show while in winter coats and boots only a few days later.
|Filling in the Brookfield Zoo gaps|
On that same trip to Chicago we also swung by the Museum of Science and Industry where they recently installed a fifth machine! They now have a fighter jet there.
Another interesting aspect about starting a collection is meeting people who collect the same stuff. In the world of the internet this has created whole communities and means of tracking down what interests you that takes things to a whole new level. Turns out there are many people who collect, buy, and trade Mold-A-Ramas. One woman in Tennessee recently contacted us to see if we wanted to trade Mold-A-Ramas we can get here for ones we weren't able to get when we were in Knoxville. We told her we plan to return to Tennessee someday for the Jack White guitar at Third Man Records and to try the Knoxville Zoo again, so we weren't interested in a trade, but we'd be happy to send her things from the Midwest to help her fill out her collection as long as she reimbursed us. We already plan to pick up doubles for her when we get to the Como Zoo sometime this summer if we make it to Minnesota.
But just because we prefer to get Mold-A-Ramas for ourselves when we can doesn't mean we aren't happy to add gift Mold-A-Ramas to our collection. After learning of our Mold-A-Rama adventures through this blog, the operator of Moldville.com generously sent us a box of unusual figures simply to delight my children. Most of them glow in the dark! Oh, the squeals of joy from my kids when they opened the box and discovered the Space Robot that we'd heard about but never seen, and the large dinosaurs that we didn't have, or the Space Needle, the Unisphere, the tank.... Most amusing to us was that the pumpkin was helpfully labeled "Pumpkin." All of these now have special places on our shelf.
Moldville also does a weekly giveaway on its Facebook page, and when a friend of ours happened to win a Mold-A-Rama of naked mole rats, she was kind enough to send it to us. That figure used to be available at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, but they no longer have any machines there, so my kids had lost hope of ever seeing the naked mole rats figure, let alone having one for our shelf. But now we do! (Thanks Emily!)
|And just as naked and mole ratty from the back!|
So that's where our collection stands at the moment. Interesting plans afoot! Can't wait to share what's coming next in our weird Mold-A-Rama world.