what’s in your toolbox: chelsea fuss of {frolic!}

Today I am beyond thrilled to share my interview with Chelsea Fuss. Chelsea is a stylist extraordinaire, magic maker and the creative genius behind the wildly popular blog, {frolic!}. {frolic!} was one of the first blogs I fell in love with when I was finding my way through the blogosphere. Her floral arrangements are so unpretentiously lovely, and her tablescapes always delight. One of my favorite places to peep her work is on Project Wedding and Once Wed where Chelsea designs an array of DIY projects for the clever bride, covering everything from flowers to wedding cakes to fashion accessories. I count Chelsea as one of my top inspirations, and I’m sure you will, too!

1. Design*Sponge: What is in your toolbox?

Chelsea Fuss: For every shoot, I bring a basket full of tools. It always includes: double-stick tape, flower clippers, scissors, hammer, nails, screwdriver, a hand-held steamer, wire, twine, fishing line, tacks, a can of air, garbage bags and drop cloths. I also bring white foam-core boards. I cover these with fabric for backdrops or use them to bounce light onto the subject. When I am shooting DIY stories myself, I often use a tripod, since I am often working alone and need to capture each step in the process. My laptop comes everywhere with me. It houses inspiration boards, spreadsheets of props, and visual references that I’ll need on set.

Photo credit: Nicole Hill Gerulat

2. Design*Sponge: Fill in the blank, “When I am in my studio, I feel _____________.”

CLICK HERE for more of Chelsea’s toolbox!

3. Design*Sponge: What are on the top shelves of your inspiration library right now? This can be anything (blogs, books, magazines, vintage catalogues/manuals, etc.).

Chelsea Fuss: Books: Perfect EnglishTrade Secrets by Madderlake, Garden Dreams, Flowers for the Table by Ariella Chezar and vintage garden books. Magazines: out of prints like Victoria, Domino and Blueprint. Blogs (limiting to three current favorites. I read too many to list them all): Honey Kennedy, Tokketok, Belle Fleur De Lis.

4. Design*Sponge: How do you keep yourself organized? Time management is often one of the biggest obstacles for creative minds. Do you have an agenda book, and do you make to-do lists?

Chelsea Fuss: Post-its. A book of lists. Lists on my laptop. It’s all about lists!

Photo credit: Lisa Warninger

5. Design*Sponge: If you could have one superhero (or magical) power, what would it be and why?

Photo credit: John Valls

Chelsea Fuss: I would like to fly. It would make errands so much easier and faster!

6. Design*Sponge: What is the best advice you have ever received, and what is the one piece of advice you would offer to a young stylist/blogger?

Photo credit: Lisa Warninger

Chelsea Fuss: Be yourself and don’t spend too much time focusing on what other people are doing. Focus on your strengths and be excited about the traits and qualities of your personality and work that make you different from the rest of the crowd.

7. Design*Sponge: In addition to being a stylist, blogger and floral designer to name a few, what would you like to conquer next?

Photo credit: Lisa Warninger

Chelsea Fuss: In the immediate future, I am going to be focusing a lot of time on prop styling for food photography. I am really excited about this. I come from a family of cooks and a city of foodies, so it’s an area I am very passionate about. My big project right now is a cookbook I am styling. Down the road, I’d love to do a flower book, and I am also very interested in having a small farm.

8. Design*Sponge: Where do you like to shop for inspiration?

Photo credit: Lisa Warninger

Chelsea Fuss: I love galleries. I recently stumbled upon a Russian Impressionist gallery in Park City, Utah, that just blew me away. Here in Portland, I am a big fan of Bernadette Breu, a warehouse filled to the brim with antiquities and oddities. Farmers’ markets are also a big source of inspiration. I actually shop a lot at simple stores like Fred Meyer, Michael’s and grocery stores. I love using accessible, simple items in my projects, and I think it’s a fun challenge for myself to see what I can find in these places.

Photo credit: Nicole Hill Gerulat

9. Design*Sponge: If you could peek inside the studio/toolbox of any designer/artist/craftsperson, whose would it be and why?

Chelsea Fuss: Beatrix Potter! She’s such a hero of mine. Both her work and the way she lived her life.

10. Design*Sponge: If you could make a master mix-tape of music that is inspiring you at the moment, what would it include?

Chelsea Fuss: I love the Swedish band Acid House Kings. Their music is light + happy.

*All photos are taken by Chelsea, unless credited otherwise!

  1. kimberly says:

    yay!! so happy to see Chelsea on here :) and i love that your inspiration (one of the many) is Beatrix Potter, that totally shows through in your lovely work :)

  2. love Chelsea. great one.

  3. Laura. says:

    yay! i LOVE chelsea, her blog + her style. thanks for sharing this great interview!

  4. Loved this interview with Chelsea and seeing her beautiful work.

    I got to meet Chelsea at ALT and she was just the sweetest, so down to earth!

    Thanks for sharing with us!

  5. elisabeth says:

    I love Chelsea’s work and blog. So inspiring! Thanks for the great interview.

  6. Chelsea Chelsea Chelsea! Crazy talented.

    I really appreciate how clean and feminine her work is while also being wild and effortlessness. Rare gift :)

  7. chelsea fuss says:

    Thank you very much for the feature!

  8. katy elliott says:

    Yay love chelsea! She’s the sweetest and so talented!

  9. Shylee says:

    Thank you for introducing Frolic! I really enjoyed the post and all of the wonderful pictures. Her style doesn’t seem fussy- I love it!

  10. jane says:

    chelsea is a constant inspiration. it was great to find her here :)

  11. Have always loved ‘frolic’..and Chelsea …thankyou for sharing this lovely interview, Grace…xx meenal

  12. yay! so exciting to see chelsea on here! what a great interview! gorgeous photos!

  13. Wonderful to meet Chelsea! Gorgeous photos.

  14. erin says:

    a true favorite. such a lovely interview.

  15. wonderland says:

    She is great! Thank you!

  16. So beautiful – Chelsea’s work is all kinds of lovely.

  17. This is fantastic. I’ve only just discovered {frolic} this past week on twitter, and this interview offers a timely opportunity to learn more about Chelsea and how she works. Thank you Grace and D*S. Time management is a challenge for me lately —trying to juggle writing and photographing with regular work. So, it’s interesting to read about list making. I need to get better about that. I just got a big erasable calendar too! Nice to see some behind-the-scenes photos and stories about one of your inspirations, Grace!

  18. Oh, what a treat!

    I LOVE Chelsea :)

  19. Love seeing this feature on Chelsea. She is such an inspiration and her work is always so clean and fresh.
    Great interview!

  20. Courtney says:

    Great interview, Ginny! Chelsea is such a fantastic person. She was one of the first people I “met” in the blogosphere and the first place I started advertising. She has such a great eye and I’m so happy she’s getting all the recognition she deserves!

  21. Kristy says:

    Yay, Chelsea! I love her work; so glad to see her featured on d*s!

  22. Amy Wing says:

    I feel like Chelsea could style anything (food, flowers, product) and she would make it effortlessly airy and chic. Great to see her featured on d*s!

  23. elizabeth says:

    Thanks for featuring Chelsea! She is one of my daily reads.


  24. Kristina says:

    I love Chelsea + Frolic Blog!! Such an excellent Q+A, thanks for posting!

  25. This post is so beautiful I forgot to read the text and had to go back!

  26. i like that one little booth shot in the corner behind her, attached with tape. nice touch.

  27. Denise says:

    Can you tell me where the small cork vase/flower pot come from? I am looking for something small like that for our daughter’s wedding, I want to make individual pots of Thyme for place cards. I love your blog! Thank you!

  28. chelsea fuss says:

    Hi Denise,

    The vase is by Tag. http://www.tagltd.com/

    Thanks for the nice comments:)

  29. Jen says:

    Thanks, Ginny! I LOVE seeing the tools Chelsea uses to create her magic. She is a hardworking and talented lady and just an all around good person. She’s also a consummate professional and does such wonders for the image of her clients! So inspiring! I’m so glad she lives here in Portland, too. Great post!

  30. angie says:

    I was thrilled to see Chelsea featured this week! I wish I was in Portland, I would love to spend a few hours in Bernadette Breu right now! *a

  31. Sarahbeth says:

    Wonderful post – I love Chelsea! I always find her posts, pictures and style refreshing. Great pick!

  32. cori says:

    love this! chelsea is the best, so kind and talented and such lovely style.

  33. Amy Nieto says:

    Hooray for Chelsea, she is a lovely talented lady!

  34. Apron says:

    Really beautiful and talented girl.


Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.