Category Archives: DIY

Kitchen Makeover: Backsplash, Shelving and More Painting!

Now for the pictures that you have been WaiTinG for!  As I worked on painting the cabinets, I also added open shelving.  Check it out!DSC_0399




I bought the corbels at Home Depot and used MDF board for the shelves.  Next, I added a wainscoting backsplash, which I don’t have ANY pictures of that process (sorry!).  But, I do have pictures of the nearly finished kitchen at Christmas!

Just for dramatic effect, let’s see where’ we’ve come from the beginning…



Here is an “after” picture (as of December 2012)!

After 2

We added a new light fixture above the sink and painted the trim around the window.  The trim, shelves, corbels and backsplash are all the same color.  I used white trim paint from Sherwin-Williams.

After 1

Here is a “before” from the right side of the room.  Remember how I said I was going to build a cabinet to hide the range hood pipe?  (where the greenery is in the picture below)


Well here it is!

After 3

I took a cabinet door from a “lazy susan” cabinet that I bought on Craigslist.  I cut the cabinet door down to size, and hung it.  It opens from the bottom (the hinges are on the inside top) but I LOvE that it gives us extra storage space!  The other big changes on this side of the room is a new fridge and range hood!  I also added wainscoting to the back of the open cabinets (the one with the microwave and the cabinet above it).  This really prettied them up :)  What do ya think?!

After 4

These pictures pretty much bring you up-to-date on how my kitchen looks today.  We recently replaced the light in the kitchen ceiling and put in recessed lighting.  We also finished taking off the popcorn ceiling and now have a “knockdown” texture on the ceiling.  It looks so much BeTTeR!  All I have left to do is paint the ceiling (white) and add crown moulding to the top of the cabinets.  We eventually need to switch out our kitchen sink and replace the countertops (since those are the ones I painted 5 years ago!) but I am so indecisive on what I want…so it could be a while :)

My kiddos are officially on sUmMer bReaK, so who knows when I will finish up the kitchen!  We are so close though, and I am thrilled with the results!  It has really opened up the space and feels like we doubled our cabinet space since we added the open shelving. Gotta love that!

Let me know what you thought of the kitchen makeover!




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Kitchen Makeover: Painting!

Now for the fun stuff!!  I painted the lower cabinets “Mourning Dove” by Martha Stewart.  I had it mixed at Sherwin Williams, and since it is a discontinued color, just ask them and they can find the formula and mix it up for you!


I decided to add some FuN to the room by adding chalkboard paint on the back wall.  I love it!  And so do the kids!!



Remember this cabinet?  This is the first cabinet I removed when I started the kitchen makeover!


And here it is painted!


To this day, I am still debating if I like the distressed look (see the left cabinet door below) or if I want the cabinets to be solid white (see right cabinet door below).  What do you think?


The upper cabinets were painted Alabaster by Sherwin Williams.  6


I never shared with you the picture of the ceiling after I ripped out the soffit.  Here it is!  The ceiling also shows were I started taking off the popcorn ceiling.  Yep…I opened that can of worms and will share that process with you later.  I can assure you, all the mess and work was well worth it ;)


So just to see where we’ve come, here is a “before” of the left side:


And here is a “during” of the left side:


Here is a “before” picture of the right side of the kitchen:

DSC_0168And here is “during” the painting process of the right side!


Stay tuned!  Next week I am going to share pictures of the backsplash, open shelving, and the rest of the painted cabinets!!



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Kitchen Makeover: Tearing Out MORE Soffit

Last week I shared with you how I tore out the soffit and raised the cabinets on one side of the kitchen.  Was Doug surprised when he came home?!  To be honest, he wasn’t as ShOcKeD as I anticipated.  In his defense, it is a “norm” for me to take on projects, and for some reason I get itchin’ to do it when he is gone.  Serves as good motivation to surprise him I guess ;)  The AWESOME thing is that he is extremely supportive of my love for this type of work, but under one condition….that I don’t drag him into helping me all the time ;)

…But every now and then I give him that puppy dog face that he can’t resist, and he becomes my partner in crime!  Which is why I want to share with you how much easier and faster it was to raise the cabinets on the other side of the kitchen!

I obviously was so tickled when Doug agreed to help me that I didn’t take NEAR as many pictures of the pRoCeSs!  In fact, due to having a helper this time around we were able to demo the soffit, raise cabinets and finish the left side of the kitchen (below) in 2 hours!  That’s right…2 hours!  To get started, here is a before picture:

shoup house 3

Same process, just much faster with two people!  (for more details instructions, visit Kitchen Makeover: Raising Cabinets)

2 Score Sheetrock

3 Tear off Sheetrock



As you can see below, we threw plastic over the stove and counters for easy cleanup.  I learned my lesson after doing the demo without it last time ;)


We raised the cabinet on the end first (as the white rectangle BELOW shows where the cabinet use to be).  This made raising the cabinets a breeze because all we had to do is go straight up.  Didn’t have to worry about keeping them level because they stayed flush to the cabinet next to it!  We just worked our way across the kitchen, unscrewing and raising one cabinet at a time.  We also didn’t mess with taking the food out of all the cabinets at the same time.  With each cabinet we moved, we took out the food, raised it, and then put everything back.  Super easy!


Notice the cabinet above the stove in the picture below.  We didn’t raise this cabinet to avoid messing with the range hood and exhaust vent.  I decided I would eventually make a new cabinet and door which would maximize our storage space and hide the pipe!  You’ll get to see how that turned out in a future post!


To recap, here is a BEFORE picture of the left side of the kitchen (that I took a few years ago!)

shoup house 3

And here it is AFTER!  10

The cabinet above the stove is the only one that stayed where it was originally.  And in the meantime I tried to make the exhaust pipe “pretty” by throwing a plant up there Ü

One more thing, notice the 2 small cabinet doors above the microwave…

shoup house 3

…and then how I removed them in this “after” picture.  I think I am digging the idea of open shelving ;)  And speaking of shelving, see all that extra wall space we created by raising the cabinets?  Stay tuned for pictures on how it looked once we added open shelving under all of the raised cabinets!


We did It! (**I couldn’t help but do the Dora song and dance**) What a great project for a Saturday morning.  Tackled it right after breakfast and we were done by lunch!  I wish all projects were that quick.

Next week I hope to share the different changes I made in the kitchen by PAINTING!  Here is a sneak peek…2Have a good weekend!



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Cupcake Crazed!

Not only do I LoVe eating cupcakes, but I also LoVe baking them!  Sometimes I think one of the reasons I wanted to be a mom so badly was so that I could make cupcakes for my kids to bring in to school on holidays!  When I taught 1st grade I found any and every excuse to bake cupcakes for my kiddies including cupcakes with blue icing and little baseball gloves on them to tell the class I was having a baby boy when I was pregnant with Nicholas!  With all this cupcake baking comes quite a HUGE collection of cupcake liners.  I’m starting to think that buying cupcake liners is somewhat of a mini-obsession for me.  Especially after doing this post.  I have now come to the realization that I can throw a baby shower, baptism, Superbowl bash, dinosaur dig, princess tea, and that doesn’t include your general calendar holidays!  My cabinet was overflowing and I couldn’t figure out a good system for storing the many, many, MaNy liners that I had, but I knew that something had to give or the next time I went to bake cupcakes they were all going to come crashing down and I was going to have a big mess to clean up.  I looked around for containers at the dollar stores, but there really wasn’t anything that I thought would work so I went through things I had at home.  While drinking Seltzer the other night it occurred to me that the bottle was the exact size to hold the liners and it was the perfect height to fit in my cabinet.  We drink Seltzer by the case in our house so all I had to do was take a few out of recycling and soak off the labels.  Now I have the perfect system for organizing and storing my cupcake liners, tons of new-found cabinet space, and it didn’t cost me a dime!

Cabinet before shot

Remove labels and cut off tops of bottles

Fill with cupcake liners

Cabinet after shot!

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)


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{How To Add Effects & Words To Photos}

I think it is kinda funny, ME, writing a post about editing pictures.   That’s because I really am techno-challenged.  {Is that a laugh I just heard all the way from Lyndon, Kansas – 90 miles away?!  Yes, I am quite certain Lara is laughing because she has taken too-many-to-count phone calls from me with my computer conundrums!}

Maybe you can relate.  The thought of trying to edit a photo on your computer sounds equivalent to mastering the Amanar vault.  (The famous & incredibly difficult vault of Miss McKayla Maroney, of TEAM USA Woman’s Gymnastics.)  Sorry, I’ve been a bit immersed in the Olympics these days as many of you may have been as well.  :)

Anyway, I want to share with you a couple of internet sites where you can edit photos in a few minutes.  Seriously!!!  It really is simple.  (Sorry, for those of you who are yawning because this is so last year’s news. )

So, it all began with an idea and a pith helmet.  As members of the Chanute Tourism Committee, fellow committee member Jacquelyn Borgeson, and I thought it would be cool to start a Facebook marketing campaign by taking pictures of SoMeBoDy, SoMeWhErE in our town with a pith helmet inspired by our own famous OsA JoHnSoN.  (You never know where the pith helmet will show up and on whom.)

This photo came from the Martin & Osa SAFARI MUSEUM

So, I began to look online for a site where I could add words to the above photo as well as to the photos I take.  I wanted to add our town’s motto “Live The Adventure” along with the name of the people in the picture.

And these are the sites I found:   – add effects and borders – add words

I’m sure there are sites where you can do one-stop shopping.  I just like these sites and don’t want to spend the time to find new ones.  (At the end of this post I will give step-by-step instructions to help walk you through the process).

Here is the original Osa photo after a border and words were added.  I was going for a postcard-y look…

Here’s another tourism photo:

The original photo…

Add an effect (notice the change of color compared to the original?  I chose a 70’s – looking effect) and a border…

Then add words.

This photo I took in Bonner Springs, Kansas behind Moon Marble Company last fall…

Add effects and border…

Finally, add words.

Here’s a little pizzaz I added to a random wedding pic…

The original…

A photo from my childhood…

The original…

Now that I know how to add effects and words, I plan on making photos similar to this for my girls’ 1st day of school coming up in just a few days!!!

  1. Go to
  2. Select a pic from your own photos or practice by trying one of the photos displayed at the bottom of the page where it says, “Try one of ours.”
  3. Once you have selected a photo it will appear in the white developing tray.
  4. Beneath the white developing tray are numerous effects that you may choose i.e. “Harry”, “Hagrid”, “Karen”.
  5. After you chose the effect you would like, click the double arrows (>>) at the bottom of the page.  This will take you to a new set of effects such as “Beep”, “Bocea”, or “Bubbles”.  I usually don’t use any of these, but it is fun to try them out.  (At this point the meter at the bottom of the page will be on green.)
  6. To select a border, click the double arrows (>>) at the bottom of the page once again.
  7. Once you select the border you like, click “Save” at the bottom of the page.  (The meter will be on yellow.)  Name the photo and chose a location where you would like to save it to i.e. a picture folder.


  1. If you want effects and/or borders, do the above steps 1st.
  2. To add words I go to  You can add borders and effects at this site, however, I like the effects at better.  (From what I can tell, does not have word functions.)
  3. Once at, click on the box that says, “Add text, speech bubles >>”
  4. On the upper right hand corner click “Upload” and then select the photo you would like to add words to.
  5. Select a font on the left side of the page.
  6. Once you select a font style, the font will appear (in the words “Write Text”) in the middle of the photo.  Click the “Write Text” and a box will appear around the words.  Move the box to where you want the text on your photo.
  7. Change the font size by moving the blue dot under font on the left side of the page.
  8. Change the color of the font by clicking the black block on the left of the page.

Happy Editing!!



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Out for Dinner…With the Kids!

Growing up my family had a tradition of going to a local pizzeria for dinner almost every Friday night.  It was a tiny restaurant that had a jukebox in the back and my sister and I loved waiting to hear our weekly selections…our favorites were always Pat Benatar’s Hit Me With Your Best Shot and Love is a Battlefield!  The regulars knew us and the waitresses waited to see us each week.  The place wasn’t fancy but the memories of this special night out with my family have StUcK with us.  Having a family of my own, my husband and I started this same tradition with our own kids.  Every Friday night we go to our favorite local restaurant for the BeSt brick oven pizza around.  Everyone knows us at Bella Gente and it has become our home away from home on Friday nights.  The only problem is, keeping my kids occupied so my husband and I can also enjoy our Friday night.  

Many restaurants give kids crayons and a menu to color on while you are there eating.  The problem is…the crayons are poor quality and break or don’t really work and if your kids are too young to read, then what good are the activities on the menu?  I found small plastic containers at my local craft store that I knew would fit a box of Crayola crayons (they are on sale everywhere now for back-to-school).  Then I bought a pad of plain post-it notes to put inside the container with the crayons for my kids to color on.  Now instead of using broken crayons that don’t really work on a menu they can’t read, they can draw pictures on their sticky notes with whatever colors they want!  The boxes that I keep these in fit right in my purse and have made eating out a much more EnJoYaBlE experience for all of us!

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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Upcycled Winowpane Table

Take a look at my latest project!  My neighbors put all new windows in their house and I took their old ones for my endless projects!  I turned this square window into an end table for my living room.

Old window before I sanded off the old paint and dulled the rough edges

Ready for some legs!

Found these table legs at Lowes for about $10.00 each

Gave the table a new “Old” look using acrylic paint and a weather crackle effect!

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)


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Icing Cupcakes Made Easy!

Whenever I have to bring a dessert anywhere I AlWaYs do cupcakes.  Not just because I love to eat them, but because I have found a FaSt and SiMpLe way to make them look like they were done by a professional!

Use your favorite store-bought icing, disposable cake decorating bags, and a large-sized decorating tip.

Cut the tip off of the disposable decorating bag and slide the decorating tip to the end of the bag.

Fold the plastic decorating bag over the edge of a cup so that your hands are free to scoop the icing into the decorating bag. Once you have filled the bag with icing simply take it out of the cup to use.

Squeeze the icing to the tip of the bag when you are ready to decorate the cupcakes.

Start on the edge of the cupcake and move in a circular or spiral motion ending in the middle of the cupcake.

Add toppings and serve!

Try not to get frustrated on your first few attempts!  After a few tries you’ll be decorating like a professional and your friends and family will be asking you how you make it look so EaSy!

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)


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LIVING IT: Exterior Home Makeover

Check out a completed “Live-It List” item from one of our readers!

I wanted a new look for the exterior of our home.  Check out what I did!

I ordered the supplies from Dyebrick ( After looking at their color panels we decided we would try staining our brick Rustic Brown. Starting out we ordered a “Sample Pot” which is roughly $11.00 plus shipping. Once the sample pot arrived and we tried it out in an conspicuous area we were ready to order enough for the front of our house. We then ordered the Brick Tinting Kit which is around $55.00 plus shipping. With no dilution the Brick Tinting Kit is 20fl.oz which can cover 162.5 sq.ft.

We ordered 2 and had some stain leftover. It took us around 15 hours to do the front of the house. If you have someone helping you, the time could be cut almost in half. It does take some time since you must stain one brick at a time. The stain is permanent and is guaranteed to last a lifetime so it’s definitely worth your time. We are 100% satisfied!

Hidden Live-It List question:

What is the furthest distance you will have to travel to check off an item on your Live-It List? (feel free to use a screen name)

Click here for “Live-It List” details.


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{Table It!}

Isn’t it amazing what you can find in StOrAgE?!  I was looking for a little side table, so my mother-in-law took me to her storage unit.  This is what we found…

 PeRfEcT!  I’ll take it!!

CoTtAgE-y bLuE table is what I am thinking I would like.  To get a distressed look, I only covered it with a couple coats of paint.  This left dark streaks which is exactly the effect I was after.  Here’s how it turned out….

ExActLy what I was going for!




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