Being an artist, Mum, Wife and Entrepreneur leads to a busy life! We try and keep some of the values taught to me by my Grandmothers at the forefront, and some wholesome and healthy interaction with nature as staples in our family life.

The Creative Yearbook is a place to explore our life in the Berkshire countryside, simple pleasures like cooking and creating, and to showcase some super talented craftspeople that I have the pleasure of interacting with every day. I hope you enjoy reading about our creative lives.

Don't miss our quarterly magazine comprising of the best features, food, craft, art, gardening, nature and much much more our beautiful planet has to offer.

  • Jo Richards

What a strange time it is. I don't think that any of us truly understood the magnitude of the effect that the Covid-19 virus would have on our country. It's been an overwhelming time, with many of us isolated from those we hold nearest and dearest, and not having access to the things we've taken for granted almost all of our lives.

But in amongst all this uncertainty, there is an uprising. A hope that we have collectively. A need for love and appreciation in all that we hold dear, and a deep gratitude for all that we have. What a welcome side effect.

For years we have, as a nation, and a whole world society, taken this planet for granted. We've not paid it the attention it desperately deserved, and now we are being given a second chance to appreciate it wholly and fully. I'm not just talking about the devastating environmental impact the human race has had on our globe. That's enough in itself, but I'm talking about the effect of consumer society, of fast and disposable, of ingratitide and contempt on our personalities and values. Our culture has become horribly throw-away, and that has, perhaps unintentionally, extended to our treatment of both people and nature.

So what will we learn from this global pandemic? It will be different for every one of us, I'm sure.

For me, it is the deep appreciation of the relationships I have and hold dear. Those with my family, from whom I am currently separated.

Those relationships with the friends who I may see daily or yearly, but who have a huge impact on my happiness, wellbeing and ability to thrive on the things that we have in common.

It is also not to underestimate the importance of stability in my life. This comes in two parts, the financial stability that I simply must ensure once the opportunity to earn money arises again, and the ability to provide both emotional and life stability to my children, my reasons for doing everything I do, and those whom I wish to grow into caring, emotionally aware, balanced humans, who wish to do better than the generation before them. I will try and put these changes into everything I do when our world gets back to normal, whatever normal is now.

Any change is enough. I truly believe that changing one thing for the better about your life will have huge impact in the long run. This situation we find ourselves in is most definitely a marathon, and not a sprint, so use those 26 long miles wisely, and find out what it is that you can change to invoke something amazing in your life.

Sending you all love and positivity in these diffcult times. We will get through the other side of this, and it will be beautiful if we make it so.


Updated: Feb 12

Exploring Adobe Illustrator's recolour artwork tool gives a new lease of life to forgotten work.

Ever created some artwork and for some reason it just continues to be pushed aside? You're not sure what's wrong with it, but you're just not feeling it. Last year I created a collection, which, on the surface, I was pretty happy with, but whilst I should have been showing it off, something was stopping me.

This week I took another look. I've been through a bit of a re-design here at P&M HQ, and a new colour palette for my branding emerged, which encouraged me to take a look at some of my older works and see what would make the cut for the new website.

Adobe Illustrator's Recolour Artwork tool to the rescue!

English Hedgerow gets a new, cool palette

When I designed English Hedgerow, I had in mind pastel, warm colours and stayed pretty true to life. My designs were in their infancy at the time, and my confidence as a designer was not yet shining through in my work. It was one of the most complex patterns I'd created, and whilst I liked it, it wasn't quite 'there' in terms of the design work I was seeing on social media.

Grabbing a new palette, and the fabulous 'recolour' tool on Adobe Illustrator, it has gained a new lease of life and is now featured in the gallery of recent work on my portfolio.

So, if you're struggling to get a pattern just right, just try a palette you'd never have tried, and see the magic happen.

#recolourtool #adobeillustrator

  • Jo Richards

Updated: Jun 10, 2019

When it comes to design, not all work is equal. Earlier this year I set up the Graphic Design side of my business as a separate entity. Grey Card Creative was born out of necessity and a desire to give the two sides of my creativity a separate identity, because, as I have learned, not all design work is made equal.

Designing for others versus designing for passion

I love my job. Being able to make a living from designing things makes me incredibly happy, but not all design jobs are make equal.

Grey Card Creative allows me to bring in the cash, pay the bills and allthe other necessities life throws at you.

When I design for Grey Card clients, I design with them in mind, their business, their requirements, their passion, their desires. The image they want to project, the persona they want to show off, the service they want to offer to their clients.

None of my job as a graphic designer is about me, and that's exactly how it should be.

I put myself in their shoes, I want to show off their business in the best was possible, even if sometimes that means talking them out of a bad idea!

I create logos, business branding, social media presence, websites and marketing material. I have to become their business in order to do my job, and that's just fine.

I love graphic design, it allows me to utilise and hone my skills in Adobe Illustrator while I design, and that it amazing.

So why is it different to surface design?

When I design for Primrose and Mabel, I design for me, for my passion, for pure pleasure and to express my inner feelings, desires and interests. Every bit of design work that comes out under the Primrose and Mabel name comes from my heart and soul. There is a bit of me in every brush stroke, every pencil sketch, every line drawn. There's a spark of creativity and consideration in every colour choice, every slight rotation of a motif, every placement of every element until the pattern is 'just right'.

And that makes it such a different experience to designing for another person. And it's why I love it so much.


If you have something to share on the blog please get in touch! I love to hear about craftspeople, designers and artists doing something amazing in their corner of the world. Drop me a message at and let me know what you have to share.

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