Over time, she honed her technique and figured out how to cut costs, by purchasing her card stock from lower-cost shops for artists, for example. "Now I'm more cost-effective," she says.
After she retired in 2002, she devoted more of her energy to her art and card business. (Atkins also paints.) "I don't think I'll ever stop working. I'm just not wired that way," she says. Her father, who lived into his nineties, often said, "Do as much as you can for as long as you can"—a maxim she continues to live by.