Sunday, December 22, 2013

In the Spotlight + Mini Challenge... with Jennie Atkinson

Hello Everyone!

I am Jennie and I am absolutely delighted to be your Spotlight Host for this month's mini challenge.  I live on the remote island of Shetland in the very north of the UK - in fact we are as close to Norway and Faeroe as we are to the UK Mainland. It takes 12 hours on the ferry to get from Lerwick (our capital) to Aberdeen and across some very bumpy waters!  I have lived here for 34 years and absolutely love it.  

My blog is called Live The Dream as I really do live the dream - I am so lucky to live in an old Shetland Manse (c.1840) in the stunning Tingwall Valley and the view out of my craft room is of the loch, the hills and the sea and cliffs in the distance.  It is not always sunny! in fact at the moment we are experiencing gale after gale and early snow.

We have a lovely sailing boat (named Mrs Muir - known as "the other woman") and my husband and I spend six/eight weeks each summer sailing from Shetland to the West Coast of Scotland (and back again of course!).  I am also so very lucky to be retired - my  job as Senior Planner with the Shetland Islands Council was quite demanding and didn't leave much time for crafting but it has been full on since I left!  One of my leaving presents was a Cuttlebug Die Cutting Machine - fabulous!

I have crafted since I was a child, but I have always loved paper.  I just love working with it - inking, stamping, cutting, folding ...... This love has led me into scrapbooking and I really enjoy scrapping our memories, particularly in mini-books which I make myself.

During the last couple of years I have ventured into mixed media, which I really enjoy, and textiles also get into my pieces every now and again. Living so far north I have not had an opportunity to attend any workshops or classes and everything I do is either by trial and error or watching online videos and tutorials. 

But more than anything I suppose I am known for my hand made flowers.  It started about four years ago when I never seemed to have the right coloured flower (I have to buy everything online) and decided to research making my own.  There are so many tutorials out there in blogland, so none of the ones I make are unique to me.

However the one thing that I do with all my flowers in order to make them much stronger and capable of being on the front of a mini-book is to spray the cardstock with water after cutting and inking them and then scrunching them up around a thin paint brush handle.  When left to dry over night the cardstock is fuller having been plumped up and is much stronger.  The creases really add to the look as well.  My favourite flower die is the fabulous Tim Holtz Tatterred Florals Die, but I also love Donna Salazar's fabulous Itsy Bitsy and Flower Dies as well.

I love to use them in scrapbooking .......

...... mixed media work .......

..... and on hangings - just about everything really!

If you would like to see how I make my flowers please visit my blog Live the Dream and scroll down a bit and you will find a number of tutorials on the right hand side bar.

The Mini Spotlight Challenge 

So ....... my challenge for you all this month is to show us your favourite flower die and what you create with it.  There are so many wonderful dies and ways of working with them that I hope you will enjoy this challenge and I am really looking forward to seeing your projects - as usual absolutely anything as long as it is not a card!  AND as the season is Christmas and New Year you have two weeks to enter the challenge - our next full Challenge (No. 31) will not open until Sunday, January 5th.

On behalf of everyone at Anything But a Card Challenge I wish you all a peaceful and happy Christmas and all you wish for in 2014.  Happy Crafting!


  1. Really beautiful flowers you create. How wonderful that you love in such a scenic area and also have a boat.

    A peaceful and Happy Christmas to you as well

    Love Chrissie xx

  2. It's lovely to find out more about you Jennie. As I hope you know by now I'm a huge fan of your gorgeous flowers and have been inspired to make some too previously. This sounds like a super challenge. Jenny x

  3. This is a lovely mini-challenge, Jennie. I have followed your flower tutorials and have dabbled with making roses. Mine have a way to go to look as fabulous as yours. Have a wonderful Christmas. Cheers, Di xx

  4. Jennie I enjoyed reading your post. What an amazing part of the world you love in. I can imagine how unspoilt and inspiring it must be - except for those shrieking winds. I will enjoy having a play for your challenge - the extra time will help too! Have a wonder filled Christmas.

  5. Thank you for the introduction to your beautiful world :) How magical!! Your flowers are gorgeous and that is one thing on my crafty "to do" list - I need to learn your techniques ~ enjoy your holiday!

  6. Hi Jennie, it was lovely to meet you and to have an insight in to your life up there on Shetland. I'm so pleased that you have now found the time to get down to some serious crafting and thank you for sharing your beautiful projects. I'm afraid I won't be able to join in with your fun challenge as we're visiting relatives but I am going to have a look at your blog! Happy crafting in 2014. MMx

  7. What an amazing view out your window ! Your paper flowers are beautiful as well. I must go visit your blog ............. !

  8. a super look into your life, stunning photo, I would never get anything done living there, I must have a play later to try making your fab flowers

  9. I really enjoyed the look into your world, a stunning place to live, I would never get anything done.........super cards and I must try the flowers later

  10. What a fantastic spotlight - so lovely to see where you live (and in the sunshine too!)... and as always, your flowers are so inspiring - beautiful!
    Alison xx