Perfectionism, Paint and Peace

In this issue:

Learn how perfectionism might be what's frustrating you in your journey toward weight loss and wellness. Embrace the imperfection of a good shabby chic paint makeover and get a DIY recipe for chalk paint for your next project, big or small. Learn more about a book that helps with taming your inner critic.



Inspired Life: Wellness and Perfection

For years, I have tried to get healthier, lose weight, and stick to a plan. As a perfectionist, I've caught myself thinking that if I couldn't do it perfect, I couldn't do it at all. Or I sabotaged my own efforts and then shamed and guilted myself for those choices. I've been learning that it's a journey. I want to be healthier. Healthier than I was last year and the year before that. But the definition of healthy for me is not the same as someone else's definition of healthy.

As part of our Christian sharing alternative to health insurance, Liberty Healthshare* requires me to have a health coach while I'm working toward my optimal weight. When I first joined, health was determined by a number on a scale and a chart in a database. But I'm grateful to see some changes in how medicine is viewing health, and now, there are other factors that go into determining wellness. Lifestyle, activity, food choices and more are all part of the wellness process.

What I Have Learned About Weight and Perfectionism

I'm slowly discovering that how to change my motivation from a number on the scale, to a mindset. Maybe you've been there too. You eat "perfect" all week and have some amazing workouts. You think you're skinnier for sure. So you hop on the scale and don't ever worry about taking off your socks and unmentionables this time. You don't care about the extra ounces. And then you find out the scale is UP. Yes. Up. By three stinking pounds! And you say, "I've failed."

But have you? You ate healthy food and moved your body. You set your mind on making healthy choices. You won. But you measured your success by the wrong thing. If you're a perfectionist, you noted that everything aligned, but now that you see that the scale didn't, you toss out the success of the whole week because of that number.

The mind shift that needs to take place is learning to measure success by a new parameters. Perfection isn't the goal, but instead, progress is. This means giving yourself some grace when your outcome isn't what you'd hoped for, or you did the best you could.

I have made progress over the last two years. It has been slow, but I'm dedicated to the process of learning and changing. If you're on a journey away from perfectionism toward progress, I would love to hear your story! Message me on e-mail or social media with your story.

*[If you would like to know more about Liberty Healthshare, which I mentioned above, just send me an e-mail and I'll let you know how I can put in a referral for you.]


Life, Repurposed: Chalk Paint Addiction

I have a serious addiction to chalk painting stuff. And if you've ever used chalk paint, you know it can be expensive - like $30-40 per pint or quart expensive. I have a lot of quarts of regular latex satin finish paint that I purchased from someone who was selling them for $1 each online. So, I have been using those for various projects and making my own chalk paint. See recipe below. It's also a perfect way to use up leftover dabs of paint.

Below, you'll see some examples of the furniture and fixtures I have chalk painted. It's a great way to cover some hideous flaw or cover damaged wood that can't be restored to it's glory. For example, my kitchen cupboards were outdated beyond hope, and even if restored in some sense, would not look modern at all. So paint was a great option for the cheap wood. I had an old trunk that had a dirty vinyl outside. I love the shape, but it didn't have the character of the other old suitcases I have. So I painted it a fun, bright color. A budget night stand looks designer with the right paint, and it's also fun to use on glass jars, too.

Why Chalk Paint?

First, why chalk paint, and what is it? It's important to note that chalk paint is not the same as chalkboard paint. Chalk paint has a chalky finish, because it has minerals similar to what is in plaster in it. I say minerals, because there are different recipes (we will get to that). The combination of latex paint and chalk powder allows the finish to bond to nearly any surface without needing prepping, sanding and priming. There is a curing time, so for a week or two, the paint can scratch easier, even with a protective coating.

Speaking of protective coating, once the paint is dry, it will be very matte and, well, chalky. It will need to be sealed with either wax made for chalk paint, or a paste wax. If you love the distressed look, the paint should cure for a day before lightly sanding to remove some of the paint here and there for that antique look. If you sand it too soon, too much paint could come off and you'll need to touch up.

I'm a major cheapskate, and can't justify the price of ready-made chalk finish paint. So, I make my own. And instead of the equally expensive sealer coats, I use Minwax paste wax (clear or antique brown) or I have also used clear polyurethane (water based) over the top.

The beautiful thing about chalk paint is that it love imperfection! It makes the flaws and worn out parts feel intentional, and makes old stuff so attractive. You can't be perfect with chalky finishes, so embrace the shabbiness and run with it!

Chalk Paint DIY Recipe

In the last issue, I promised to share my recipe for chalk paint. Here you go!

  • 2 cups of latex paint (satin finish is best)
  • 1/2 cup of calcium carbonate*
  • 1/4 cup of water

Mix the water and calcium carbonate in a plastic cup and stir until blended. Then pour the mixture into the paint, stirring as you pour.

*Some recipes call for twice as much, or use a ratio of 3 parts paint to 1 part calcium carbonate. You can tweak this amount to fit your preference. The recipe that came with my bag of CC has also changed since I purchased it.

Why Calcium Carbonate

Why I use calcium carbonate and not plaster of Paris. There are recipes out there that use plaster of Paris, but this can yield mixed results with some paint formulas. Plaster hardens through a chemical reaction, and because most latex paint you can buy now has both primer and paint in one, it has a different type of reaction with plaster than plain latex would have. So, to be sure I wouldn't ruin a whole quart of paint, I have used calcium carbonate (limestone). Did you know that this is actually a dietary supplement? It's what you eat in many antacids! Don't believe me? Check out this article.

I found a pharmaceutical company on Amazon that sold its factory seconds for the purpose of chalk paint. I purchased mine here on Amazon. One bag makes a LOT of batches of paint. The new recipe on the bag calls for 1-2 cups per quart. That is a lot more than recommended the past, so experiment to see what you like. I personally would not use that much chalk.

Please send pictures of your first project with chalk paint! I would love to feature your pictures the Trash to Treasure Decorating Facebook page. You can send your pictures through a message to that page.

Recommended Reading 

The Perfection Detox: Tame Your Inner Critic, Live Bravely, and Unleash Your Joy

by Petra Kolber

The tendency toward perfection can be both positive and negative at times. Mostly, it can paralyze talented people from fulfilling their purpose and potential. Petra Kolber has lived it, and now she helps others with unleashing their potential by removing the barrier. Listen to this quote from the book:

"If our idea of success is always about proving our worth and always being right, then we are in for a lot of headaches and heartbreak. When success is tied to the outcome it is a thin tightrope we walk filled with tension and stress. Instead, we should aim to stay buoyant during the times of struggle, see the ebbs and flows as part of the process of growth, proof that we are living, loving, and most importantly trying. We can still identify the parts of ourselves or skills that need to be strengthened, but we can view them instead as opportunities to learn and grow, and we can use the success of those around us as motivation to fill our own inspiration tank instead of feeling threatened by their wins.”

Viewing weaknesses as opportunities is so freeing! But what if we still can't accept ourselves with our weakness? What if that feels like we are justifying what needs to be worked on? She addresses this too:

"Just like forgiveness does not mean condoning, acceptance does not always mean completely liking what you see. But it does allow us to objectively view the parts of ourselves that still may need strengthening and improving. Instead of punishing ourselves for the areas of our lives that are not perfect, we can use the lens of self-acceptance to see that our potential has not yet been met."

Find the book on Amazon

(Please note: books posted here on my blog are purely because I want to share them. Sometimes I receive free copies for review, and other times I purchase the books. Some I get from the library. Either way, any endorsement I offer here on the blog is simply because I want to talk about the book. )

Michelle Rayburn is the author of The Repurposed and Upcycled Life: When God Turns Trash to Treasure,  as well as a small group Bible study to accompany the book. Learn more about these and her other books here.

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Posted in Articles, Podcast Episodes.