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Gaby Israel Grinberg

Digital marketing maven. Mom to a micro-preemie miracle. Foodie, would-be-world-traveler, interior decorator wanna-be. Obsessed with nail polish, shoes, Starbucks Oprah chai lattes (skim, please), mid-century modern design and the beach.

Lana’s Butterfly Flower Garden 1st Birthday Party

My daughter Lana Rose turned one on August 16th, 2016, and it was a very special milestone for us. Lana was born a 24-week micro-preemie and spent a long six months at the hospital before being able to come home. It has been a long and at times emotional and stressful road for all of us, but also very fun and rewarding. We wanted to make a big splash in honor of Lana’s 1st birthday, and we were fortunate that many friends and relatives flew in for the big day!
The theme of her birthday was a butterfly flower garden, and was very similar in color and scheme to her nursery. She even wore a custom dress using the same beautiful fabrics from her nursery (“Winged” pattern by Bonnie Christine)! The butterfly has a very special meaning and symbolism for us. Since our daughter was born 4 months early and was very tiny (12 oz, 10.5 inches) and fragile at birth, she fit in the palm of our hand, kind of like a little caterpillar. Immediately after her birth, she was intubated and placed inside an isolette, where she lived for over four months. Her isolette came to represent a butterfly’s chrysalis. And every day, she grew bigger, stronger and over time, she grew her wings and emerged as a beautiful butterfly!
We chose a beautiful outdoor pavilion close to our home as the venue for her birthday. We wanted something outside, to take advantage of the gorgeous summer weather. It was really spacious and simple, which allowed us to infuse the space with tons of beautiful colors and decorations that perfectly represented the theme and feeling we wanted for her birthday: light, airy, whimsical, youthful and very feminine.
Pastels! Everything from lavender, mint, peach, blush, pink, blue and yellow pastels were the name of the game. To me, those colors will always be in style, and were the perfect mix for a butterfly garden party! We carried those colors throughout, from the decor, to the tablecloths, flowers (both real as well as the tissue paper flowers I made), plates, napkins and desserts.
The main focus for the decorations were the big, beautiful and multi-colored pastel tissue paper flowers. I made each one of these by hand, months in advance of the party. I worked on creating a few each night before going to bed, and before long, I had close to a hundred flowers for the party! These were actually a lot easier to make than I originally thought. I found a few YouTube tutorials, and voila! The flowers were used as a backdrop behind the two buffet areas (lunch and desserts). I added tons of pastel butterflies with clip backings right on the flowers themselves. I found the beautiful butterfly clips at Michaels as well as The Dollar Store, and they came in very handy.  I also used the butterflies on the tables and in the flower arrangements on the tables. And pretty much anywhere that we could clip on a butterfly, we did!
My husband’s cousin helped to create the flower arrangements for each of the tables. I bought various-sized mason jars at The Goodwill, and decorated each one with different pastel ribbons, twine, burlap and lace. No two were alike! For flowers, I bought a bunch of baby’s breath, hydrangeas, pastel roses (full size blooms and tea roses), as well as lavender and yellow chrysanthemums. We were going for a somewhat “shabby-chic” look with the arrangements, and they came out great! I also used antique tea cups as part of the decorations on the tables, which I purchased from Etsy, as well.
A good friend of mine is a gourmet baker and has her own business, Bella Nava Creations. She is an incredibly talented baker and decorator, and she made the amazing sugar cookies, cake pops and cupcakes with cream cheese frosting (yum!). I really wanted the desserts, and the dessert buffet, to not only be edible and delicious, but also part of the decor. And Brandie did just that! They were a huge hit, and so yummy!

Lana’s Mint Green Butterfly Nursery

When we found out we were expecting, the first thing I did was to scour Pinterest (and Project Nursery!) for nursery inspo. We didn’t know whether we were having a boy or a girl when we started painting, so it was my husband’s idea to go with mint green for the walls (Behr Venetian Pearl), with a slightly darker shade (Behr Intense Jade) as an accent wall. We painted it ourselves, and just fell in love with how bright and airy the room felt!
Once we found out we were having a girl, I knew I wanted to add a fresh, fun and modern secondary palette, and we decided on something in the peach/coral/melon palette with touches gold throughout the room.
After the walls, the next big “anchor” in the room was figuring out the bedding. I perused a few of the big box retailers and local baby stores but nothing caught my eye. I turned to Etsy, as I knew it would be a failsafe and have a plethora of beautiful, custom options. I selected three different fabric suites, and consulted with my trusty advisors (my mom and sister!) before selecting the gorgeous “Winged” pattern by Bonnie Christine, with the butterfly pattern being the central theme we incorporated throughout the room.
Little did I know at the time how symbolic the butterfly pattern would be for us.  You see, my daughter Lana Rose was born prematurely at 24 weeks due to severe preeclampsia and HELLP Syndrome. We spent six long months in the hospital with her, and I had plenty of time to work on her nursery, down to every last detail. It gave me strength and a creative outlet for all the fear, anxiety and stress we went through. The symbol of the butterfly really became my daughter: when she was born, she was very tiny (12 oz, 10.5 inches) and fragile, and fit in the palm of our hand, kind of like a little caterpillar. Immediately after her birth, she was intubated and placed inside an isolette, where she lived for over four months. Her isolette came to represent a butterfly’s chrysalis. And every day, she grew bigger, stronger and over time, she grew her wings and we were finally able to take her home, where she belongs. Overall, Lana is doing incredibly well, and truly thriving at home!
We placed the most emphasis on the dresser, as we feel it’s an important piece of furniture, and will be used in Lana’s room (or in a guest bedroom) for many years to come. My husband and I both love Mid-Century Modern design, and we have incorporated that look and vintage pieces throughout our house. Adding it to Lana’s room was a no-brainer! We found this gorgeous 9-drawer solid walnut vintage Lane dresser and matching side-table at a local purveyor of mid-century modern furniture in Saint Paul, MN, called MidModMen. They are fabulous at finding and restoring these classic pieces. The 9 drawers really come in handy, as we have plenty of room to separate Lana’s clothes, socks, accessories, bedding and other odds and ends. It’s also great because we can put her changing pad on top of the dresser and still have plenty of wiggle room.
The bookcase is our next favorite furniture piece in her room. We were hoping to find a mid-century modern bookcase for Lana’s room, but we found out they are much harder to come by. During that time period, it was much more common to have built-in shelving, bookcases, and larger storage units and room dividers with shelving, than the kind of small bookcase we needed for her room. So the Land of Nod Next Chapter bookcase in walnut and white was the perfect fit. It matched the style we were going for, as well as the color, and size. It arrived right at our doorstep, and was a snap to put together!
I know the Råskog Ikea cart is nothing new and has been featured here before, but it’s such a fantastic little piece. It’s super functional, movable, chic and understated. It worked perfectly in her room, and I just love how flexible the storage unit is. And for the price, I feel it’s a must have for any nursery or kid room!
Touches of Gold:
Gold is such a classic and luxurious color, and it feels really modern and fresh. It’s everywhere these days, from clothing to home decor, but it will always be timeless in my book. I added little gold touches throughout Lana’s room, such as the little white and gold hedgehog lamp, the “Ring for Milk” sign, two geometric vases on the dresser, and also in her mobile above the crib. I also added gold leaf paint to her carved-wood mirror, to add a little more whimsy to her room.
Once the big items were in place, finding cute little touches to fill her room was the best part! From the letters on the front of the door spelling out her name, to the mobile hanging above her crib–I tried to look high and low, online and in-stores and everywhere in between for fun things to pepper into her nursery. In addition to butterflies, bunnies have also become a bit of a theme in Lana’s room. I bought a mint green one to match the walls, and we started to receive other bunnies as gifts. I also found a bunny at HomeGoods that was dressed in a tutu matching the accent wall color in her room. The butterfly pillow and mint green throw on the rocking chair were also good finds at HomeGoods. The four frames hanging on the accent wall are from Ikea, and the beautiful artwork is actually hand-made paper from PaperSource!  My husband picked out the ceiling light fixture and also hung up all the artwork in her room. The watercolor painting of lilies hanging above the rocking chair is actually something I painted when I was in high school.
Nursery and beyond:
I think as Lana get’s older and acquires more toys and clothes, we will continue to evolve and decorate (and organize and clean!) her room. I have a feeling she will fall in love with the butterflies and mint green and keep that theme for years to come. It feels really fresh and modern, and also mature yet innocent at the same time. It’s something that works for a baby, toddler and eventually a little girl. I am really excited to help Lana grow and develop her likes and personal style, as well as help her find and curate her treasures and keepsakes. I hope that one day, through the design of her nursery, she will see the legacy I’ve started for her with a few treasured items, and the metaphor that she represents for us through the butterfly.