Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Camp NoFun

Back in the closing decade of the last century -- which is to say in the 90s -- our young nieces used to visit for a week or two every summer.  We called it Camp NoFun and it was meant to give us a chance to get to get to  know each other better and to introduce the girls to country living -- baking bread, picking blackberries, gathering eggs, learning to sew -- all that good stuff.  There was still lots of time to do other  things like playing dressup in my old skirts . . .

...and the ever popular trick of dyeing Queen Anne's Lace by sticking the cut stems in a container of water and food coloring.

Of course, the flower is quite pretty in its natural state. But it's irresistible fun to watch osmosis at work.
It works within a few hours -- except when it doesn't. The stem I put in the red dye keeled over rather than osmose. So did its replacement.

Note to self: Avoid red food coloring.

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22 comments:

Deanna said...

What fun! And I'll have to admit I didn't know that about Queen Ann's Lace... sigh, I have lived such a sheltered life.

Stephanie D. said...

I didn't know that about Queen Anne's lace, either. But, could you use an organic dye--like cranberry water?

And what a great idea--to teach them family traditions and basic skills! Wish I'd had a grandmother like that.

June said...

Omigosh! I had forgotten that about flowers. I think we used to do it with something else...daisies? I've never tried it with QA lace! How pretty!

Pat in east TN said...

That is so neat that you gave your nieces that opportunity! Where are they now, what are they doing? Did they carry through with some of the things from camp?

I love Queen Anne's Lace but never knew about the dyeing of it ... I'll have to show my granddaughter that on her next visit!

Brian Miller said...

ih now that is really cool...camp sounds fun too. smiles.

Miss_Yves said...

I've learnt many things today:
the English word for"Carotte sauvage ", a poem about this plant:
"Each flower is a hand’s span
of her whiteness. Wherever
his hand has lain there is
a tiny purple blemish.

Queen Anne's Lace (Carottes sauvages), William Carlos William
poème entier et traduction"

Your nieces are cute, dressed with "your ols skirts"
I love the pictures showing the métamorphosis (Is this right ?)of the plants .

Mr. Stupid said...

This was great. The camp sounds so much fun. I didn't know about the Queen Anne's lace either.

Vicki Lane said...

Come on, Deanna -- give it a try! Go wild!

Cranberry might work, Stephanie. But I think I remember past success with red -- possibly I put too much of the food coloring in. (I did have a grandmother like that, lucky me!)

Never tried daisies, June. Florists do it with carnations-- green for St. Patrick's Day, etc.

Pat -- Genie, the one on the left is a makeup artist in Hollywood -- a long, long way from the country. Amelia, you've met here before -- she's the mother of young Asher. She and her husband live and work in Charlottesville, VA but really hope to move back to this area. She's a farm girl at heart.

Camp was fun for all of us, Brian!

Love the WCW poem, Miss Yves! And I've learned the French word for wild carrot -- which I shall enjoy thinking of as 'savage carrot!' Yes, 'metamorphosis' is correct.

Paul C said...

What a great idea about dyeing the Queen Anne's Lace. Your lucky nieces...

Kaye Barley said...

I just love this picture of your nieces. What wonderful memories you gave them, Vicki!!

okay - gonna dye me some fleurs ! ! Queen Ann's lace is just fascinating; I particularly love the underside. What intricate work Mother Nature has done with Queen Ann's lace.

willow said...

We would send our oldest two off to Kansas for two weeks every summer for a visit with WT's parents on the farm. They were treated to all kinds of fun experiences, and it was very much like camp. What a wonderful auntie you are, giving your nieces memories they will always treasure.

Tammy said...

Sounds like Camp Lots of Fun to me! I'm sure the girls have treasured memories from those times as do you. I really didn't know about the Queen Anne's Lace either and me being a country girl lo all these years even! As a child I longed to be on my Grandma's farm and had the great fortune to have my cousin also live there. The times we had. This also reminds me of VBS and the sweet little crafts we did (like baby food jars/glitter/water creating a 'snow globe' or the ever popular macaroni pictures..;-)
Tammy

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

Children are our future. Wonderful that you introduced them to the natural rhythm of country life. -- barbara

jennyfreckles said...

Such fun thinking up things to do with youngsters. I didn't know about dying flowers either - great idea. Most of my happy childhood memories have 'dressing up' somewhere in them!

Vicki Lane said...

It was a learning experience for the girls -- and for me. I have two boys and girls were amazingly different to deal with.

Dang, Tammy -- I wish I'd known about those homemade snow globes!

Tipper said...

Camp no fun-sounds like lots of fun. I've been meaning to get the girls to dye some queen's anne lace-now you've reminded me :)

tori said...

I'm going to try that! so cool!

Vagabonde said...

I bet they loved coming to that camp and have wonderful memories about it. The Queen Anne’s lace is pretty colored like that, then what did you do with it? Place it in a pretty crystal vase?

Vicki Lane said...

The dyed savage carrot flowers look quite fetching in a cobalt blue bottle.

Pat from Florida said...

Vicki - As kids, visiting Grandma (a lot of years ago), we colored white Gladioli (called Gladiola, plural Gladioli, Gladiolus, or Gladioluses, according to Britannica - I had to check that!). Really fun to watch as the colors slowly traveled through the veins, giving them stripes before eventually coloring the entire flower. We used water with blue ink. Thanks for the reminder of fun times.

Vicki Lane said...

That sounds really neat, Pat from FL! I may have to plant some gladioli (not a favorite of mine because they need staking) just so I can try it.

Vicki Lane said...

That sounds really neat, Pat from FL! I may have to plant some gladioli (not a favorite of mine because they need staking) just so I can try it.