Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I flew the coop ...

artwork by Ellen McHale

I have moved to a new home.  I am so excited to introduce you to my new website and accompanying blog.  They can be found here and here.  It is easy to subscribe to my blog or get updates from my website - just enter your email at the bottom of my blog page

Let's meet there soon ...
~ Ellen

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

creative process ...


The creative process is tricky for me - life has a way of getting in the way.   I started working with sketchbooks at the beginning of the year to help me capture my fleeting thoughts, ideas and visions.  I was never organized enough to carry a sketchbook with me and I always thought that my ideas (being so remarkable at the time - at least in my mind) would never escape me. But thoughts and dreams are mere wisps and are easily overcome by everyday life.  Here today and gone tomorrow - what was that great idea for a painting that I had?  Something had to change and that something was me.

working in my sketchbook
I've  taken to using my sketchbook to record thoughts, words, doodles, paint colors, magazine tear sheets and random musings.  It helps.  It is way more fun than I ever thought it was.  I always dove into art straight away without a warm up or a stretch.  Sometimes it worked and sometimes - nothing.  I have to say that I have been so productive and energized with capturing my ideas - it spills onto other aspects of life.

collected ideas
It starts with some clippings, some color, some pattern, a paper towel roll dipped in paint, torn paper, a colorful clip and a smear of paint.  Looks fun doesn't it?

green and red thoughts

Those collected bits sometimes come together to form a random yet "finished" sketchbook page.  An old picture informs the feeling which in turn brings up colors and then words.  This might be all that ever comes of my thoughts on the subject or it might lead me to create a piece of art.

yellow, happy thoughts

Once you get going - it is really hard to stop.  Sometimes all you need is a quote or a word to get you going.  Knowing that your sketchbook is "for your eyes only" makes it easier to put it all out there ... the good, the bad, and the ugly.  ( I realize that I just quoted titles of two movies which really does date me). Now you might notice that I'm sharing a bit of my inner vision but that is my new approach to just letting go.  Not easy for me to do - sometimes.

my blue period - just like Picasso - not quite

My new found love of sketchbooks have opened me up to new ideas, exploration, a place to play with new techniques and a chance to warm up before I dive right in.  It's a confidence builder and I  want to recommend it to anyone who has a million ideas floating around but no net to catch them with.  

Beach Rose by Ellen McHale

Sometimes a page from your sketchbook will inspire you to create something like a piece of art, a fabulous meal, a line of poetry or a garden bed. 

Beach Birds

Sometimes it will open you to a new technique or style of work that you always wanted to try but secretly were afraid of.  It has been fun to see my thoughts captured in a book that is all for me and that I can go back to when inspiration seems to have dried up.  Everyone should have a sketchbook and you don't even have to sketch!  

"Walk this way" ~Aerosmith

In the immortal words of Aerosmith, "Walk this way" - I hope you will decide to follow me over to my new website and blog soon to be appearing in August.  I am so excited about the new site and I hope you will be too.  

Last night my beloved surprised me with tickets to the Aerosmith concert.  He knows that I'm secretly (not so secretly) in love with Joe Perry.  Our seats were incredible - a softball throw to the catwalk that Steven Tyler worked so well!  These guys rocked and put on an incredible show.  From Steven Tyler's "Dream On" to Joe Perry and his guitar - bands today need to take a page from their rock and roll text book.  Did someone say they are in their 60s?  I don't believe it - dream on.

See you in August same time - new place.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Homemade Summer Gifts

homemade summertime essentials

Summer is here - officially it is three days away but unofficially it begins as soon as the kids get off the bus and school lets out for summer break - which for us is tomorrow.  I'm looking forward to a change of pace and more time spent outdoors especially in our garden.  Speaking of our garden - we've been toiling away creating a most magical space to be hanging around this summer.  We want to enjoy every moment of green grass and blue skies here in New England while we can.  The only thing standing in the way of utter garden bliss are the pesky mosquitoes. 

Last year we found a company that uses an organic product to get rid of mosquitoes or at least "disperses the crowd" so there were fewer of them to contend with.  They use oil of rosemary in their spray solution and it  really did get rid of the mosquitoes while leaving a lingering scent of fresh rosemary.    I thought that perhaps I could riff off of their idea and create a bug spray solution for my family that was all natural and good smelling too.  (I thought it would also make a nice little summer hostess gift)

Let me share it with you ( or invite me over and I'll bring you a sample - just kidding):

bug spray ingredients

Witch Hazel (I'm using Humphreys but use what you have)
Distilled Water
Rosemary Oil ( I'm using Aura Cacia organic essential oils)
Lavender Oil 

distilled water

Fill your bottle (I am using a 4 ounce spray bottle) 1/2 way with distilled water.

witch hazel

Fill to the top with witch hazel.  Your solution will be 1/2 distilled water and 1/2 witch hazel.

rosemary and lavender oil

Add 30 drops of Lavender Oil and 20 drops of Rosemary Oil.  (this is the combination that I liked - not too strong although you could have it be only rosemary oil or only lavender oil - it's up to you).

bug spray 

I put a kraft paper sticker on the bottle and tied it up with a clipping of rosemary and lavender.  This really would make a great little gift.  

If you have extra lavender oil on hand - you could make some fantastic room spray for indoors or outdoors.  Here is how:

Ingredients for room spray

You don't need much just reach for your leftover distilled water and your lavender oil. It's really that simple and oh-so-good smelling!

Distilled water

Fill your spray bottle to the top with distilled water.  I'm using a 4 ounce spray bottle.

Lavender oil

Add approximately 30 - 40 drops of lavender oil to your distilled water and shake it up to distribute.  I am using Aura Cacia organic essential oils.  They can be found in your health food stores or online here.

Lavender room spray

Tie a little piece of lavender onto your bottle with twine and give it away as a little "thank-you" gift.  It is guaranteed to please.  This would make an easy and fun summer project to do with the kids.  

Happy Summer
Look for my new blog and website that is coming soon!


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A little bird told me ...

Carrier Pigeon by Ellen McHale

I've got some exciting news to share.  The Nelley Kelley website (as we know it) is flying the coop.  Currently,  I am working with the very talented Lorell Gifford (RiverVisions Web Design ) to create a fresh, new website.  We plan to integrate my blog with my website to make it more interactive.  I've got new artwork to showcase (I think you might love it as much as I do!) and will also begin to offer some of my vintage finds.  I love treasure hunting and now I want to share some of my finds with you.  

So stay tuned ... I will keep you updated on my blog and hopefully when the time comes, you will be so kind to follow me to my next location.

See you soon,

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Homemade ...

Custom House Portrait

My husband and I recently celebrated our anniversary and as a gift I contacted Rebekka Seale to create a beautiful house portrait for us.  We have lived in some beautiful locations over the years from Beacon Hill in Boston, Basking Ridge in New Jersey and  Hampstead in London, England but I have to say that Concord is the place that truly feels like home to us.  Maybe because in the back of our minds, we always knew we would eventually come home to Massachusetts and that if we lived anywhere it would be a place filled with history and charm.  So 8 years ago we left London and set up home here in Concord and set about renovating our little house inside and out.  We are almost done or can you ever really be done? 

Rebekka Seale is from Nashville and she creates these lovely, whimsical,  watercolor and gouache portraits of your home.  She managed to pick out just the right details to highlight our home like our rock wall and our fiery orange doors.  She even added in the cardinal husband and wife that live in our backyard waiting for my husband to fill the bird feeder each week.  I swear they sing to him - it's all very Disney-esque!
Hanging on the wall in our living room

She was fun to work with and was just as excited as I was when the rendering was complete.  I wanted to make sure that she has a chance to see where her creation is living now.  Take a look at her blog and website here and here. I think you will enjoy taking a peek at her  lovely watercolors and illustrations.

Hanging by the doorway for all to see

Thanks from me to you

In the end - my husband was thrilled with his gift and so was I.  It was totally worth the wait.

See you soon,

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

inspired to create: May Day - Signs of Springtime

inspired to create: May Day - Signs of Springtime: May Baskets A sure sign of Spring - a secretly placed May basket of posies on the doorstep. It must be May 1st. Today it was dark and...

May Day - Signs of Springtime

May Baskets

A sure sign of Spring - a secretly placed May basket of posies on the doorstep. It must be May 1st.
Today it was dark and dreary but that all changed when "Anonymous" hung a basket of loveliness on my door knob.  The custom is to ring and run after you've delivered your surprise.  I'm supposed to try to catch the fleeing giver and stop them with a kiss of thanks. I know who it was - I saw her feet walk by my window.

The gift tag

The tag was so sweet.  It made me want to cry.  A few of us dear friends no longer have our mothers by our sides so this message was all the more special. She used to make and deliver May day baskets with her mother when she was little and then the two of them would drive around town to ring and run.  
She is doing it in her mother's (and all our mothers) memory.  What a lovely memory to carry around.

The full view of the May basket

Can you see just how sweet this basket is?  It's a recycled can that's been painted then stuffed with soil, thyme, parsley and pansies.  Tied to the tag is a pair of gardening gloves sewn together with a vintage button.  

Suddenly, the day doesn't feel dreary ...

My mom's favorite little Springtime quote:

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils

~William Wordsworth

Thank you to my dear friend.