I'd been looking forward to doing this for many months: dyeing the fingernails of my daughters' pinky and ring fingers with bongsunghwa (Impatiens balsamina). (I don't know why the tradition is to do only a few fingers instead of all the fingers, but I do recall that it is simply "not done" to dye the forefinger.) I took a handful of blossoms from my profusely flowering balsam ('Blackberry Trifle'), crushed them into a paste with some alum (how much alum? I'd say "to taste"—only in the sense of adding a pinch or more until the mixture feels like it has the right consistency—a total guesstimate, in other words), placed a bit of the paste on the fingernail, wrapped the finger with a grape leaf (foraged from the wild and weedy border of our neighborhood schoolyard), and secured the leaf wrap with a strip of nylon stocking. I was hoping that the stocking fabric would have more "give" than string, but the girls started complaining within hours about the wraps being too tight, so I loosened them a bit (and so, in the course of the night, some stayed on, and some fell off). In the morning, we unwrapped the fingers, and were delighted to find that the dye had "took". The balsam blossom we used is lavender-colored and produced a deep purple paste, but dyed orange, in pretty much the color I remember from my childhood (although not as deep an orange as it would have been if we'd included tobacco as an additive, and if the girls would have endured a night's discomfort to keep the wraps on tightly all night!). The dye on the skin of the fingers will wear off in a few days, but the nail dye will stay until the nail grows out.