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Sacramento, CA, 95820

Hello and WELCOME to Heart's Path Designs.

The soaps you see listed are currently in stock, please contact us directly at (916) 233-9043 or for orders as we continue to work out our e-commerce and shipping options.  If you have any questions, please use our contact form.  Also check us out at Heart's Path Designs on Facebook for regular updates and frequent promotions.

Heart's Path Blog

On Patience, Longing, Artistry, and a Handmade Life

Lisa Jenkins

I've been taking my time reading Dreamworker Toko-Pa Turner's book "Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home."  In it she explores the roots of our connectedness (to ourselves and as a society), exile, longing, healing (both personal and inter-generational), approaching the empty spaces in one's own inner landscape and more.  It should have been no surprise to me when there in the pages she delved into the longing for connection through a handmade life - the juxtaposition of the old ways rich with their spirit and connections to others and what we have now with (mostly) mass-produced goods.  It's no wonder (she said in so many words) that so many artists dream of being pregnant, or laboring, of the process of giving birth; that so many are drawn to the history and closeness with one another that a handmade life affords us.  What a breath of fresh air I got reading that!  An electric tingle at how she GETS it.  It's been hard for me to describe just exactly why, to pinpoint the longing in myself that has drawn me ever since I was a little child to the whole process of meticulously creating a thing with the hands that can then be used for a lifetime (or gifted or sold to others for them to treasure and use).  As a child, I was drawn to beadwork, dreamt of making moccasins (why? flip flops can be had for a dollar!), I wanted to build my own house some day. I read about the basket-weavers, the soapmakers, and knew there was a deep unspoken need in my heart for a handmade life that even I didn't fully understand.

I am so blessed to connect not only with Toko-Pa's vision, which more elegantly helps me bring to light these concepts but also to connect with all of you - the makers, artists, and people who cherish the efforts and bits of our souls that we put into our handmade works.  Carry on good people, it's an amazing life you all labor for and support.

In a plastic, petroleum-byproduct world with more and more resources being wiped out by the minute, it's so good to be cold process!!

Selected words from Toko-Pa Turner's “Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home” -

“Occasionally you meet someone who knew their great-great-grandmother, who wears the handmade, ceremonial clothes of her people, who still stewards the land and sings the ceremonial songs of her people. But most of us are not so rich. . .

Handmaking is an act of conceiving, laboring for, and and contributing to culture. . . While those of us who are the children of refugees and settlers may no longer have this symbiotic relationship with the land upon which we live, our history is still embedded in the things we make with our hands, which is why I consider handmaking to be a great competency of belonging. The materials we chose, the teachers who imparted the craft to us, the necessity or beauty which called the creation forth, the style of music contained within its curves and lines – all of these elements live quietly in an object made by a person's hands. And wearing, using or living with a handmade thing allows the essence of a handmade lineage to be kept alive through us.

For centuries, the only tools and objects people used were made by hand, usually by someone in their own village, creating a reciprocal economy, In other words, by engaging a maker to bake your daily bread, or a blacksmith to forge your knives, or a blacksmith to make your knives, you are receiving an original creation – but you are also giving the makers a purpose in your village. With the advent of plastics. . . . we have access to buying cheaper, more colorful products, (but) it comes at an unseen cost. The disappearance of both human mastery and other-than-human resources happened very quickly over the last seventy years. . .

Consider, for example, a knife you use everyday . . . But imagine for a moment that your knife wasn't like any others. Imagine you sought out a bladesmith, who procured the metal from a miner whose lifetime has been spent collecting iron from the earth, and who knows the ancient alchemy of alloying elements. Then imagine your bladesmith shapes it in a fire he always keeps alive at a forging heat. Notice its handle is carved in bone, only one of the precious elements of a fully esteemed deer who was killed in a night-long hunt that bestowed its hunter the honour of its death. Then imagine your bladesmith is allied with a leatherworker who has cleaned, tanned and tailored the deerskin into a sheath that protects your blade which also sits snugly at your hip.

A knife like this would humble you with its beauty. Every time you felt its weight in your hand, you would remember the earth that gave of its bones to become your blade. You would think of the man who lives in the dark to find your metals. You would remember the fire, fuelled by so many trees that gave their lives for the heat. You would be astonished at the artfulness the bladesmith has mastered with his life, as well as your indebtedness to his skills. Every time you sheath your knife, you would think of the deer who ran through the dark forest by the strength of its brave heart, and the hunter who left a generous offering to the deer's spirit, whose body would feed his family for a half a year.

When you learn to make things with your hands, you begin to awaken to the beauty and value of things in your life. Teaches us about slowness: the antidote to brevity and efficiency. It shows us, through the patience and skillfulness of our own hands, the what goes into a thing . . . We work in tandem with mystery, feeling its rhythms awaken in our bone-memory. . . As the hands work, the mind is stilled and a greater listening is engaged as we drop down into the deep rhythm of devotion, where the whole world is in communion. . .

Handwork also teaches us the patience required to make a life materialize. . . The work is small, the work is slow, and all we can do is stay with it. As Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes says, “the shortcut, the easy way, always falls apart. Then one returns to the handmade life. One has to pick it up painfully, and piece it back together, holding the overall pattern in one's mind, but working patiently, piece by piece.””


Lisa Jenkins

Don't fret, it's not mold. It's not a badly formulated soap or a soap that's been left sitting around way too long. Soda ash (sodium carbonate) is a natural product of the soap-making process that is more prominently visible in some bars than others (for a variety of reasons).

For those not super familiar with the soap-making process, here are the basics. When you mix Sodium Hydroxide (Lye) which is a strong base with fats (oils, butters) a reaction occurs called saponification. Saponification is the essence of soap-making - if your ratios are correct, all of the lye will be saponified with the oils (soapmakers generally “superfat” or add at least a bit more oil than technically needed to make sure) and the result will be soap crystals suspended in water phase with the bit of oil left over in there to nourish your skin after you wash. Sometimes makers superfat quite a bit but that is a topic for another blog post . . .anyhow, the soap needs a good cure time to allow the crystals to develop fully and the excess water to evaporate out (generally at least 4-6 weeks). During the initial part of the saponification process (about the first 48-72 hours), a lot of chemical changes are taking place. The soap batter heats up, the pH changes up and down numerous times, some colors will morph, and so on. It's quite amazing to watch and learn about!

Now for the soda ash part – during the first part of the initial saponification process (the first few minutes and hours after the soap batter is mixed), some of the unsaponified lye reacts with carbon dioxide in the air where the soap is exposed, creating sodium carbonate. That sodium carbonate appears as a white-ish, almost “ashy” looking substance on parts of the bars that were exposed to air while saponification was still occurring. It can appear as a thin or thick layer, or even a smattering of dots here and there. In fact, if a maker cuts a loaf of soap very early while initial saponification is still underway, they may even get a little ash on the backs, sides and bottoms of the soap!

Depending on formulation, whether or not the soap went through the gel phase, amount of water in the soap batter, temperature the soap batter was poured at, whether the maker covered the soap after pouring and a number of other factors, you may or may not see visible soda ash. And that's just fine. It's not necessary – but if it happens, it's simply an aesthetic feature.

Some soap makers choose to embrace soda ash on all of their designs where it happens. Others choose to change up major design features/formulations just to avoid it, and then there are those that steam, plane, or wash soaps fastidiously to get rid of it when it happens. Whatever the approach, soda ash is simply a natural part of the process.

- Lisa Jenkins, Owner, Heart's Path Designs.

Full Ingredient Disclosure - Our Promise to You

Lisa Jenkins

At Heart's Path Designs we value you as an informed customer. That means putting every ingredient on every listing & label so that you can research for yourself before you choose which of our products are right for you and your family. We have a wide variety of products, from all-natural (more on that term below) handmade soaps and lotion bars to designs with foodie/trendy scents, vivid colors, and more. By listing all ingredients we use (right down to the witch hazel we spritz on while forming our bath bombs) you can check for ingredients you could be sensitive to, ones you don't want to use, and ones you want to use. Let's face it - life is complicated enough as it is, we don't need to be wondering what we're putting on our bodies. There are some ingredients we generally don't use (Corn, Soy and Canola Oils, Polysorbate 80) for reasons of personal preference.

“If you list all of your ingredients, won't other makers just rip off your designs?”

The short answer is possibly, yes. And possibly no. However, it's much more important to us that you get all the information YOU need to decide if any of our products are a good fit for your family (or even if some are, but others are not). Some people have sensitivities to the most common things (like coconut oil, for instance) and others do not want to use certain products for reasons of personal conscience or because they are affected by scents. Could someone take an ingredient list and re-create our products? In some cases they may come close, in which case they are free to market them however they like (of course we frown on straight copy-cats in any industry but we can't police every maker). However, chances of making an exact replica of any product with just an ingredient list are slim. Regardless, our primary focus is bringing the best quality product to YOU in the most transparent manner possible.

“But wait, your products aren't ALL, all-natural?”

This question comes up a lot. In the bath & body/cosmetics world, a LOT of people use the term “all-natural.” The truth is that there is no regulation of that term for soaps, body butters, lotion bars, etc. Some makers don't give it mention at all (or even list their full ingredients anywhere, yikes!). Some use the term very broadly, or don't really know which ingredients are sourced from nature and which are not. In fact, in the United States if a business clearly identifies a product as “soap” and lists the product name and weight, ingredients are not required to be listed at all. We choose to list for the reasons given above. We make every effort to determine which of the ingredients we use are actually from natural sources and which are not. Mica colorants, for instance - while they CAN be mined naturally, the natural forms are regulated due to high amounts of cadmium, lead and other impurities naturally found in them (that are very hard to separate using economically feasible refining methods). Micas sold on the market today for use in cosmetics and personal care products generally are laboratory-created in a controlled environment. So Micas aren't strictly “all-natural” (although the ones in use now aren't filled with the impurities mentioned above, either).

“Is Lye all-natural?”

Use of Sodium Hydroxide (Lye) does not in and of itself disqualify a soap as a natural product, in fact, soap cannot be made without lye. Even commercially-produced soaps begin with Lye. By carefully formulating (and carefully measuring ingredients in each batch) we ensure that the right amount of oils are used to fully saponify the Lye so there is never any active Lye left over in a cured finished soap bar (search the term “saponification” for more information). Even liquid soaps begin with a form of Lye. We always “superfat” by a margin of at least 5% (5% more oils and butters added to the batch than are strictly required for complete saponification), both providing a safety buffer and a luxurious-feeling soap.

Where one of our products has ingredients that are fully sourced from nature, we will use the term “all-natural” simply as a shorthand for our customers to compare available products. If it has any amount of an ingredient not sourced from nature (say, scent from fragrance oil which may or may be constituted 100% from natural ingredients) we will not use that term. We do offer a number of products specifically designed with the fewest ingredients possible and from natural sources. Many of our products use ingredients that are Organic and we always stick with reputable suppliers for all of our materials. Message us if you have specific needs not already addressed so we can discuss how to best meet them. And as always, if you have any other questions about our products, feel free to ask!