Angie PitreAngie began blogging in 2005 when she moved with her family from Nova Scotia to Edmonton, Alberta, as a way of keeping in touch with her family back in NS. Along the way, she discovered she had a passion for sharing ideas and inspiration for decorating, organizing ,crafting, cooking & parenting on her blog, Echoes of Laughter, and accidentally fell into a new career. She loves helping busy moms and families discover ways to make their home a wonderful place to be with simple, manageable projects & ideas.

Her decorating and baking projects have been featured by “Style At Home” magazine and she was named one of the top best home and living bloggers in Canada in 2012 by SheKnows.com, as well as one of the top 25 organizing blogs by U.S.-based Circle Of Moms in 2011. She attended BlogWest in 2012 and is incredibly excited to be back this year as an Ambassador to help the Western Canada blogging community come together for fun, learning, and friendships.

Barbara, a Vancouver-based blogger,  published this interview with Angie on her blog Hodge: Podge:

Tell us a bit about yourself? Your background? Your education? What makes you tick!

I was born and grew up in Nova Scotia. I lived there with my family until my husband’s job required a move across the country 7 years ago. It was a big move for us…we stepped off a plane in a new city and knew no one. I actually have a background in business….I have a bachelor`s degree in business and worked in small business for 12 years before moving to Alberta in 2005 and becoming a stay-at-home mom to my children, who were 4 yrs. old and 8 yrs. old at the time. I have relished my life and role at home these last 7 years. What makes me tick is that I am very project oriented! I love seeing projects thru from beginning to end. And I love pretty!

What made you decide to start a blog?

I started blogging in the fall of 2005 as a form of therapy for starting a life in a new city and being a little lonely, as I had not met a lot of people yet. Later, it became a way of keeping in touch with all of my family back home in Nova Scotia. I think my Mom & Dad were my only readers for about 2 to 3 years!

What have you enjoyed about blogging? Any surprises along the way? Any dislikes?

The thing that I have enjoyed most about blogging is the connections I have made with people from all over the world. For instance, I have readers in Israel and Australia, and they leave wonderfully kind comments on my blog. To me, that is astounding and wonderful! The biggest surprise in blogging has been the impact of Pinterest…the biggest source of traffic for my blog now is Pinterest. People are finding me because others have pinned my projects there.  My only dislike is that there are just not enough hours in a day to keep up with all of the fantastic blogging talent out there!

Your blog is such a resource for fabulous organizational, meal, party and just plain pretty ideas. Where do you find the time to come up with such inspirational ideas? Where do you find your inspiration?

{Aww! Thanks Barb!} I am not really sure if I “find the time” as it is more of a natural part of me. My mother kept a wonderful home when I was growing up. She was always making things look pretty, or sewing something, or whipping up something wonderful in the kitchen. My mother also has amazing presentation skills, and I think I just kind of learned through osmosis from her. I also have a long-time love of pretty dishes and flowers. And I was a huge magazine junkie for many years. I would say most of my inspiration now comes from other blogs where amazing women are showcasing so many wonderful skills….be it sewing, baking, photography or design.

I noticed you author another blog called “Beautifully Organizational Living”, where you not only offer organizational tips on your blog, but organizational services. What are some easy ways we can find order in our homes?

Some easy ways to find order is: 1~ Start with small projects that take only 15-20 minutes. Instead of starting with big projects, which can be overwhelming, start with small, more manageable goals that fit into a busy schedule For instance, instead of organizing the whole kitchen at once, start with a drawer or cupboard a day if that is all you have time for. Set the timer for 15 or 20 minutes, work for that time and then stop. Soon the kitchen will be done and you can move on to another project. I used to work full-time when my kids were small and that is how I took care of my home….in small bits at a time. 2~De-clutter often! I usually take a bag or box to Goodwill every week. I regularly weed out things we don’t use and try not let them turn into messy piles! Again, 15 minutes a week is all it takes. 3~Manage those paper piles! Buy blue bags for recycling and toss junk mail and papers you don’t need right away!

As a mother, how to you find balance in your everyday?

I don’t know if we ever find the perfect balance…but a happy medium! I try to loosely schedule my day so that it includes a bit of everything. I have little habits that help me. For instance, after the kids leave for school, I always put in a load of laundry. I plan meals for the week on Sundays. On Mondays, I change bed sheets. On Wednesdays, I clean bathrooms. {It’s old-fashioned, but it works!} Tuesdays always seem to be the day for creative projects. I try to schedule a ‘fun day’ during the week where I meet a girlfriend for lunch, shopping, a movie or a walk. I hug my kids and husband a lot! And I practice being grateful every day…for things like good health, my family, a yummy meal, skyping with my parents, etc. I consider myself so privileged to be able to stay home and take care of my family in the way that I do.

Tell us one thing that might surprise us!

My smoke alarm goes off more than it should {when I am in the kitchen}!

You have created an amazing home for your family, what tips and suggestions do you have for creating a home on a dime?

A~I think the best tip is to get on the computer and spend some time in blog land. The ideas and inspiration are abundant. Bloggers make incredible projects out of stuff found on the side of the road or Goodwill or with their own hands and the local hardware store. It just takes some imagination and elbow grease.
B~Always try to think outside the box. If something doesn’t work in one room, can it work in another? Can it be re-painted? Can it be re-covered? I have spray painted picture frames, lamps, shelves, and candlesticks. I have re-covered chairs. I visit the dollar store for seasonal décor and I am never disappointed.
C~Paint is truly the best decorating tool. It can transform anything! I painted for the first time when I got married. I have painted in every house we have lived in since. It’s a life skill! My 13 yr. old daughter and I painted her room together and then she did her closet on her own. Don’t be scared and get out that paintbrush or spray can!

You are an east coast gal living on the Prairies now. Have you noticed any differences in the way people decorate their homes between the East and West? What do you miss the most about Atlantic Canada? What have you grown to love about living in the West?

Hmm. That’s a bit of a hard comparison to make because I am not sure if the differences come from where I live or not: big city {Alberta} vs. small town {Nova Scotia} but I have seen a lot more ‘modern’ décor in the West. I notice there is less antique furniture in family homes here. Of course, the biggest difference is the residential landscape itself. In the Maritimes, you will find almost every river, dale and town dotted with cape cods, colonials and Victorian style homes.  The West was settled later and has more recent residential styles. What I miss that about Atlantic Canada….doors or homes painted pink or purple with gingerbread trim and ‘widow’s walk’ rooflines. So pretty! And I painfully miss the ocean at times! The West has beautiful mountains and prairies and I find the people so friendly!

If you were given the opportunity to meet anyone or do anything, what would it be and why?

Well, over the Christmas holiday, I saw the new George Clooney movie, `The Descendants` and that made me desperate to take my family to Hawaii, as we have never been. The cinematography captured in the movie was so beautiful and I am an ocean-loving girl…so a quiet spot in Hawaii on the beach for 2 weeks when we have recently experienced temps in the -40`s here in Alberta sounds perfect to me right now!

What are your views on the role Canadian design plays in the world design scene? Do you feel that Canadians have a unique sense of style and design, and if so, what is it that you think sets us apart?

I love Canadian design! I think it is unique and eclectic in many ways. I think Canadians do have a unique sense of style and design that works for our lifestyle and climate. I think because we spend 3 seasons with our doors and windows closed for the most part means we want our indoor spaces to be warm and comfortable and light-filled. When I think of how designers such as Sarah Richardson and Candace Olsen have become so recognizable and popular, it makes me think that we Canadians must have it going on!

Thank you so much for having me here at hodge:podge Barb! I am so touched that have included me alongside so many other fantastic Canadian bloggers and talent such as Suzanne Dimma. I am so grateful to be a part of this amazing blogging community! Angie xo

Check out Angie’s blog at http://applevalleygirl.blogspot.ca.