Welcome to the Cottage.

The Tiny Canal Cottage® is a 1920's Craftsman-style house by the Venice Beach Canals in Southern California. This <400 sqft home/office is the full-time residence of Creative Director Whitney Leigh Morris, her husband, their son, and two rescue beagles.

Playful, Low Waste Gift Wrap

Playful, Low Waste Gift Wrap

In a recent post, I shared visuals demonstrating the simple way in which we wrap our son’s gifts. We use linen napkins, scarves and tea towels from around the house. They’re zero waste, easy for little hands to untie, and once the wrapping is no longer needed we can simply toss the cloths into the laundry bin or return them to our drawer. But what about presents that are destined for homes other than our own?


As we head into the holidays, Adam and I have somehow already found ourselves wrapping little items for our friends’ children. Instead of using linens or traditional wrapping paper, we use picture book dust jackets. 


This idea is not new. I’ve seen it before, and I’ve heard it discussed and suggested a few times over the years. But now that our son is 3 and is well into picture books, we’ve accumulated enough beautiful yet impractical covers to create our own little pile of unique wrapping paper. 

When we get a new book that has a dust jacket, we inevitably remove it within a day or two. I can’t bear to just chuck the paper into the recycling bin, as it’s usually so lovely. Instead, I unfold the paper and lay it under a project board beneath our mattress. (This is the best place for it in our tiny house, as none of our shelves are quite big enough to hold most unfurled pages.) 


Earlier this year when the back wall of our bedroom was partially destroyed from water damage, we had to part with the covers we’d been gathering for a couple of years, as they’d gotten damp. It was a bummer, but we’ve already begun to rebuild our collection. 


Once we’ve wrapped up an object with a book jacket, we use some spare/repurposed bits of ribbon or twine from around the house, and sometimes top the present(s) off with a sprig of greenery from the garden.

Is the end result perfect? Nah. But is it creative, less wasteful, thoughtful and beautiful? Personally, I believe so.


Book jacket pictured in this post: Everything You Need for a Treehouse, written by Carter Higgins and illustrated by Emily Hughes. 

Minimal Halloween Decor

Minimal Halloween Decor

Painting the "Company Car"

Painting the "Company Car"