the real Nelley Kelley

Recently I was asked how I chose the name Nelley Kelley for my company.  The picture above of the  little four year old with the posh hairdo made possible by rags tied into her hair, looking for adventure in her the sailor suit and flashing a mega-watt smile is – ME – and did I mention that my name was and is Nelley Kelley?  Yup – Nelley Kelley,  although back in the day my “Nelley” was spelled “Nellie”.  Being a creative of sorts – I changed the spelling to play easily with my last name of Kelley. I thought it would make it easier for you to find me that is if you were actually looking for me. Of course my given name is Ellen as was my grandmother’s but she went by the name of Nell and I went by the name of little Nell.  There was a song back in the day called Nellie Kelly I Love You by George M Cohan and well – the rest is history.  Only those in my inner circle actually called me Nelley Kelley – and in those days, my inner circle consisted of my mom, dad, assorted siblings and my namesake grandmother.  In school and in real life – I went by Ellen or El or as my sister would call me Elly Mae (I think that was a reference to Elly Mae Clampett of the Beverly Hillbillies).

the real Nelley Kelley present day

As I’ve gotten older and wiser the need to reconnect to my inner child  has only grown stronger especially as it relates to creating art or creating anything for that matter.  So when my company was born a few years ago I immediately thought I should name it after my young self, Nelley Kelley.  The above picture is what I look like in present day – I’m still rocking an amazing frock but in this time of my life – I’ve added a jaunty hat to my posh hairdo. You will notice that I smile more but in more of a Mona-Lisa fashion because I feel like you always have to keep them guessing.  I am about creating happy and meaningful art and pulling together inviting spaces that make you feel comforted.  I am always on the search for treasures old and new, things that make you happy, and beauty in the everyday.

If you are looking for me you can find me here at or on my facebook page where I like to show you what I’m up to each week.  I go by the name Nelley Kelley or to those in my inner circle – Ellen Kelley McHale.

Have a great week and see you soon ~

2 thoughts on “just who is Nelley Kelley?

  1. Katey says:

    Ellen, I love that songs fit right in with the names you adopted as I have similar memories too. Sweet story and I enjoyed reading it! Katey

    • Ellen McHale says:

      Thanks Katey – I loved writing that piece because it really made me laugh as I was putting it down on paper and brought back some super sweet memories too. I’m enjoying following you on instagram – great photos!

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