Purrrfect Day

Hello Friends! I’m still alive and kicking. I haven’t been able to find time to post and restock here as much as I’ve wanted to this year. I’m truly just sitting on a ton of inventory waiting to be photographed. 6 by 6 has required the majority of my attention still.

I did manage to kick out a few fun personal projects for Halloween.

Vintage kimono kanzashi hair clip topped with a laser cut kitty. Hand painted by Thea Starr

Vintage kimono kanzashi hair clip topped with a laser cut kitty. Hand painted by Thea Starr

A laser cut spiderweb wreath I designed and topped with hand-painted snakes and vintage silk flowers.

A laser cut spiderweb wreath I designed and topped with hand-painted snakes and vintage silk flowers.

A little corner of our front porch. Including a handmade tarantula spider, created from instructions by  Christine McConnell .

A little corner of our front porch. Including a handmade tarantula spider, created from instructions by Christine McConnell.

A little domestic fun before I head off to California for a few days for 6 by 6. I’ll be attending the AdobeMax conference. I solely use my hands for my kanzashi work, but for 6 by 6 we use all of the Adobe products. It’s such a fun event and I’m honored to be one of the selected vendors.

I post on Instagram much more frequently if you’d like to keep tabs on me there.


Circle clips are back!

Well hello! For the first time in forever I posted on my IG today, so I figured I should post a little note here too.

If you’ve been following me for awhile now, you’ll know that I’ve been working on my business with my husband John. We’re actually into our 5th year this month. My fire and inspiration for kanzashi making had cooled a bit with the laser cutting adventure. However, I have had a recent rekindling of wanting to create again. It feels totally awesome. My long time assistant - my daughter Jina is engaged now and I’m sure that has everything to do with being inspired again.

First thing out of the gate is a new batch of circle clips!

Thea Starr | Vintage Kimono Circle Clips

Thea Starr | Vintage Kimono Circle Clips

I’m totally in love with these. They are super easy to wear and are a bit of eye candy. I currently have them available in a couple of color ways as noted in the listing. Apparently hair clips are “in” again this summer. Honestly, I didn’t know they were “out”. I need something to keep my flyways in check since I’m not into using product in my hair. I’ve been rocking these for my everyday wear.

New kanzashi is on the horizon as well. I mean it! I did a little polling privately among my friends to see if everyone still loves pink and purple. The answer was a big “duh Thea”. So be on the look out for those.

xo- Thea

When you can't come up with your own original ideas...

I have been in the maker business since 2002. I have been copied (down to the exact style of design) many times. I've even had my work bought and sold and passed off as someone else's work too. 

It should come as no surprise to me that someone on the Glowforge community created a file exactly like my original work and is sharing it there for other Glowforge members to use. 

How do I know? They linked directly to my work here on my site


Unfortunately for me, there is nothing illegal about this. It is just disappointing. I know "nothing" is original anymore and no one "cares" how something is made. Its just sad that it is my exact design, including the star in a recreated file being shared. It is called a STARR flower for a reason. I created it to expand my use for vintage kimono fabric and have a collaboration product with my laser cutting company. I'm sure in no time there will be a new Etsy shop filled with Starr Flower copycats for sale as the file gets passed along. My husband John and I have experienced this a few times with our business together in the past 4 years. An Etsy shop opened up with a Happy Rain Cloud keychain copycat as it's only product. Just like this and previous experiences, I'll just shrug it off and create new original designs. Imitation is the best form of flattery right? But it doesn't feel that way though, I am human. An actual person who creates for a living. 

Thea Starr - Starr Flowers Laser Cut Wood and Fabric

As creatives, there are so many ways to take inspiration from a design and make it your own. Create something totally new with your own flair! If you like something you see made by a maker, compliment them, buy their work, be inspired by their work to make something of your own in your own style. When I teach classes on kanzashi making, I assure my students to do just that. You disappointment me Mr. Copycat. You could have at least removed the star(r).


Enjoying Spring With My Favorite Flowers

I’ve spent a lot time looking and studying flowers over the years. I used to focus on more realistic looking kanzashi pieces. That is the traditional way. Over time my customers always seemed to gravitate towards my stylized pieces.  


My customers are like me, color lovers. My pieces tend to be saturated and high contrast. So, I’ve moved away from creating realistic looking pieces and focused solely on stylized pieces. Which tend to look like the flowers on patterns on vintage kimono.

This topic is currently floating around for me. It’s spring and my favorite flowers are in bloom. Wisteria and lilacs top my list. 


I’m also already getting ready for my first and perhaps only show of the year. I’m planning out how many classics and new goods to bring.  


By my side (and wherever I can stick them) are my beloved lilacs. I had two large lilac bushes in front of my bedroom growing up. I loved opening up the windows and filling the house with their smell. I just love them and try to enjoy them to the max while they are here.

Have an excellent weekend friends! And remember to stop and smell the flowers.  



About an inch around.

Whomever I come into contact with while I am working, they always stop and marvel how tiny the pieces of fabric are. 

The standard sizes that I cut my fabrics are either 2"x 2" or 1" x 1".  The typical cuts for my regular sized and my mini sized kanzashi.

Small Bamboo Leaves Clips

Small Bamboo Leaves Clips

It can be tedious work with the tiny delicate folds, but I equate it to knitting. I've done the repetitive motions for so long now, it is soothing and familiar. For the tiniest pieces I will often use tweezers to maneuver petals into position. The smaller they are, the harder they are to make. It is totally well worth it though!

Mini Kanzashi - Thea Starr
Thea Starr | Mini Kanzashi

Many of my tiny kanzashi sets become bridal gifts, flower girl hair pieces and even Blythe doll accessories. There are a few minis available in the shop right now with more on the way. I had hoped that I would have time to list them this week. But alas, my youngest had all of her wisdom teeth removed and requires a bit more assistance we thought. (Mom life!)

Thea Starr Mini Kanzashi YO.jpg

Happy Friday!


The BronStarr Wedding - Budget Breakdown

I probably should have started with topic as the opener. If you're like most people, you have a wedding budget to work with. 

We gave ourselves $5,000.00 to make it all happen. $5,000.00 is a lot, but not.

Fun Fact: Americans on average spend $32,461.00 on a wedding. While Europeans spend on average $5,495.00 on a wedding. WUTTTT...Now in all honesty, I am not sure if that applies to first time marriages only. *Full disclosure, my first wedding expenses could've purchased a top of the line luxury car. Having lived a little since my early twenties, I know the important places to spend money.*

There are probably a million and one wedding budget guides out there to use. I looked a few over and saved a couple to my wedding Pinterest board to reference. But most didn't apply to us. So I took some basic information that the guidelines had and created my own.

Expenses that didn't apply to us: venue fees, officiant fees, florist fees, catering fees, the rehearsal dinner, photographer and DJ fees. Sounds like we got married at the justice of the peace right? I assure you that wasn't the case, let me break it down for you.

Our ceremony site decorated with pieces of the tree that fell down onto the house. I stood pieces on end and hung a small flower back drop off of a few large branches that had pinecones on them. 

Venue - After we found out that the venue we wanted was sold and we tried contacting them to make arrangements without success. We decided to host our wedding in the backyard of some family property that we own. It is modest but had everything we needed. The house was small and we had to plan to have the ceremony and reception outdoors. We had both on site. Which made it easy for our guests, they only had to park once. We purchased two large event tents on sale for $200.00. They were fantastic! White with windows built into the sides, fancy enough for us. We used some other pop up tents that I have purchased over the years for outdoor shows too. Other things we purchased for our venue, blankets for our guests (we live in the PNW where it can rain at any time - and it did the day before), lighting, decor items - like vases, large tablecloths, materials to build long tables and event insurance. 

Our very good friend Chris and our eldest son Calvin setting up the tents and the long tables. 

Our very good friend Chris and our eldest son Calvin setting up the tents and the long tables. 

The tables all set up with food for the guests to have right away.

We lucked out on a few items that we got for free or at a bargain price through Craigslist and our local Buy Nothing Group. We scored 70 chairs for free from a local country club that was remodeling. They weren't perfect but they were fancier than rental chairs and they happened to be our wedding color - burgundy. We also got an outdoor standing propane heater at a crazy great price. All said and done the cost for our venue - $2,000.00

John waiting at the beginning of the ceremony.

Ceremony - John's best friend came up from California to be our officiant. It made it special for us to have someone close do us that honor. Although he was nervous, he was fantastic. He announced us "Carbon based lifeforms".  We had our children give us away to each other and that was our only wedding party. We purchased wedding clothes for the kids and ourselves. I did my own hair and make up as did our daughters. And as you can guess, I did my own kanzashi and keepsake wedding bouquet. I'll do a post dedicated to just that in the very near future. We asked my now mother in law to be our photographer. No one could've done a better job for us that she did. Miscellaneous fees include, the wedding programs that we had the content printed and our daughters assembled, wedding favors that we produced ourselves, wedding rings handmade by Foamy Wader, John's attire and my wedding dress that I bought in the off season. All said and done our ceremony cost us approximately - $1,000.00.

We did have some hurdles with the venue. About a month and half before the wedding, a large tree fell on the house. It caused a couple thousand dollars worth of damage AND since our budget was tight (we also had a surprise $3,000.00 car repair bill just before the tree fell on the house and we depleted our wedding account to pay for that) we couldn't afford to have the tree removal company actually remove the tree and the branches from the property after they cut the tree down. We had to do that ourselves, three days before the wedding. We also had to repair a broken pipe in the house that was unrelated to the tree damage. 

Jina - my eldest daughter. Is not only a brainy boss babe - but an excellent cook too. I'm not sure how I got so lucky with this kid. 

Jina - my eldest daughter. Is not only a brainy boss babe - but an excellent cook too. I'm not sure how I got so lucky with this kid. 

Reception - My eldest daughter and I personally prepared all of the food. Three of our kids did help with rolling some of the 700 pieces of lumpia that was made for the wedding. I asked a long time friend to actually cook the lumpia on site. Our entire family (that includes some very good friends that are like family) helped with setting up the reception area and bringing the food out onto the tables. From the beginning I wanted there to be food everywhere for guests to eat since everyone was traveling to attend the wedding. My nieces (who are adults) offered to bake our wedding cake. To this day, I still cannot believe what a fantastic job they did! It was absolutely incredible and that deserves it's own post. We provided beer, wine, hard alcohol, soft drinks, juices and water. We filled our little boat to the brim with drinks and ice for our guests to help themselves.

My sister and nieces bringing in the beautiful cake they made. 

Our little beer boat. (Photo by M&K)

Our little beer boat. (Photo by M&K)

Costs include - food, drinks, chaffing dishes, deep fryers, coffee pots, service ware, biodegradable and recyclable utensils, plates and cups, Wet Naps, a very special cake topper and a karaoke machine. - $2,000.00

$5,000.00 - maybe a smidgen above that. I didn't keep a solid track on our clothing expenses and we did have some tools and repair costs that went in one ear and out the other. 

I am personally still in shock almost a month later that we ALL made everything happen - so perfectly imperfect. 

I'll dedicate posts to my kanzashi, our beautiful wedding cake and a couple other details that made the difference at our wedding.


The BronStarr Wedding - Be Our Guest

On September 3rd, 2016 at 5:30pm, John and I were married. It was an intimate yet festive affair. Somethings were traditional some were not. 

Wreath art for our stickers was designed by Lisa Glantz

Our wedding was completely DIY and featured many handmade elements as any good makers would do.  

Let me start with our invitations. Owning your our own laser cutting company had the perk of being able to make our own custom laser cut invitations.  Invites can be expensive. Making our own added our own personal touch and helped us stay within our $5,000k wedding budget. 

Our custom "homemade" wedding invitations. My formal name is Dorothya.

Let me back up for a moment and mention our save the dates. We are big fans of Unusual Cards (artist Francesca Berrini is a genius). We picked out our favorite postcard of hers and sent them out as our save the dates. If you know us, it's totally us. 

Back to the invites, like our regular work process we handled the design very similarly. I came up with the schematic design and John made it actually happen.

Our wedding theme was Art Nouveau Evergreen. We knew we would have a lot of access to sword ferns and blackberries and wanted to incorporate them into our wedding decor. We used the ferns on our wedding invite design because we love them. I love the art nouveau stylized art and so it became our invites.

Laser cut fern themed invitations by 6 by 6 Arts. 

Each card was laser cut and assembled by hand. We placed a piece of marbled paper behind our laser cut cards and inserted the colorful printed card in the art nouveau style. I won't post a photo of those since it contains personal information.


Hand addressed and sent off, much later than we wanted to. But there's a good story as to why they were late. To be continued...

Hopefully you'll enjoy my posts about my recent nuptials. I promise there will be a big post all about my personal kanzashi and keepsake wedding bouquet.

xo - Thea