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).


I am 39 today.

Some call today Christmas, some call it Friday, I call it my birthday. I was born on December 25, 1976. Having a birthday on Christmas is quite frankly bullshit. One birthday/Christmas present, no birthday parties, no free dinners at restaurants. My personal favorite is getting carded and having that person exclaim “Oh you’re a Christmas baby!!!”, as if I didn’t know. I’ve lightened up about it over the years. Mostly.

My second birthday 12/25/1978

I, however do have quite the positive outlook on aging. 39 is the end of an era. A new decade accolade is on my horizon and I am quite excited about it. I have earned this. I have been filling up the chapters of my life, much of which is filled to the brim with experiences, both good and bad. That’s life right? The sweet and the sour, the smiles and the tears. Like many of you, I have been dealt the short end of the stick many times in life. Some were due to poor choices I’ve made, some were good fortunes that fell upon me. I have lived a lot of life in 39 years. I earned it all and wouldn’t want to be younger or older. I am content with my choices even those hard ones I made. They all make me, me. “If I knew then, what I know now…” I’d probably find a new and creative way to screw it up. I am curious willful human.

I know this time of the year is very difficult for some. We all have lost someone who made our lives worth living and special. For me, it’s my dad. Every day I think of him. He was the best. He was so funny, resourceful, loving and quite the animated character. Every day I miss him. He’s been gone 11 years and it still hurts, particularly on my birthday. I do not share a similar relationship with my mother. She and I are like fire and ice. Maybe I was born mad at her for giving me such a crappy birthday? Days like today are never the same when someone is missing. It’s different. At first it’s hard but as time goes on it becomes okay and the hole left in your heart doesn’t feel as bad.

Or perhaps you are simply just not content with your life and allow some negative thoughts in when you see others share their happiness. I feel you, I’ve been there too. I’m not one to share and commiserate about woes much. I choose to take it on and conquer the thing in my way. I take it in and let it out. When I was younger it used to be rage and destructive behavior. Now it’s probably just another dozen white hairs pushing out. Watching my dad die gave me insight on life. It’s now or never. Really. We all have some cause that motivates us or keeps us sedentary. Whatever it is for you, I hope you can conquer it and go forward. And never feel bad about aging; it’s what we’re supposed to do. We have an undisclosed expiration date.

I welcome you 39. Good or bad, you’re mine.

To those who celebrate it, Merry Christmas.



Normally, I avoid discussing two things with people in general - religion and politics. Two deeply personal and highly opinion filled things. Most people have a hard time even just considering that their opinion isn't always correct or lack the openness to allow an alternative consideration in. I am human as well and I fall victim to my own stubbornness every now and then. As I've aged I've tried to be more conscience of that. So I've waited 48hours to post this because I allowed myself to be angry over a politician's words. Which I consider to be ridiculous. It's a guy that basically has no effect on me, unless he becomes president. Quite frankly, I loathe election years because of the excessive banter about political stances. I try to only tune into those who are smart enough to address real issues rather than finger point at the "other guy". I am often completely shocked by the horrible things that are said. I have to pause and ask myself, what year is it? When I was young 2015 seemed so far away in the future I was sure that we'd be traveling by hover cars and living on other planets. Not talk about withholding someone's rights or criticize someone because of their race.

The trending hashtag #MyAsianAmercianStory started by a 15 year old high school student in California of course caught my attention. (If you're on Twitter I encourage you to check the hashtag out.) I am a 13th generation American and 1st generation Asian American. I am whole person with two entirely different backgrounds. Sometimes I was "too white" other times I was "too Asian". I could write a book on the odd events that happened due to my mom's culture shock and my dad's American ways. They are the best stories I share with my own children. They are reminders that we are here due to the exploration of our ancestors. Families from all backgrounds have their great origin stories. 

My parents and I - 1978

My parents and I - 1978

Maybe being a 13th and 1st generation American I have an unique view on America. My mom believed that this was the land of opportunity and abundance. She has worked harder than anyone I've ever met. Two or three jobs at a time pulling double shifts. Doing work others pass on. My dad served America for the majority of his life in the military as every paternal grandfather of mine did since we immigrated here from Ireland. This is melting pot of many. Diversity creates growth and acceptance. 

My point of this post is to remind others that we are in fact a great melting pot of a country. We can do great things as a nation and move forward rather than back. It's not about being politically correct either, it's about using politics to not put people down but to lift a nation up.

After all, we're just some folks sharing some space on a pale blue dot.

The type is small but the message is big. 

The type is small but the message is big. 


2 - 0

Entries here have been sparse. Typically I'm occupied with working for both of my companies and handling my domestic life. Just like anyone else. Sporadic posts of process work pictures and upcoming events is the best I have to offer at the moment. I did want to document some thoughts about an event this Saturday.

My eldest daughter Jina is turning 20 years old. A new decade of life for the girl who was by my side at every craft/work show for 10 years. If you've visited me at any local show you definitely have met her. She's been my sidekick since I was almost 19. As her mom, its surreal, I feel as if I am still in my twenties.  

Jina and I  - 1998

Jina and I  - 1998

Jina is half way through college, double majoring in accounting and economics and will have a minor in anthropology. She works hard makes final tests her "bitch" and will most definitely be someone's boss someday. I wake up everyday totally amazed that I created this human. I mean we didn't have the best start, I like to compare it to the poor people version of the Gilmore Girls. The same amount of coffee, witty banter and closeness that Lorelai and Rory shared though. I'm also kind of an asshole. Who knew I'd produce a stellar young lady?

Proof, that in fact she was born with that incredible head of hair. Jina on her birthday 1995.

Proof, that in fact she was born with that incredible head of hair. Jina on her birthday 1995.

The greatest compliment I've ever received is the comment "I hope my daughter and I are as close as you are to your daughter(s)." It's nice that it's obvious, I've worked hard to unlock this achievement. Over the years at times it was hard to treat Jina like a human being. Barfing on me at the grocery store when she was a baby, toddler tantrums, ridiculous obsessions with the musicals and thieving stuff from my closet. It all comes attached with parenting right?  Honestly, you can prepare all you like to become and be a parent. Or you can just wing it. Which is what I did and still am doing to this day. Nothing is predictable for this parenting game and you have to take things as they come.  Just like life in general. 

My daughters and I on my home "rocK". Photo by "Carol Anne"  2012

My daughters and I on my home "rocK". Photo by "Carol Anne"  2012

Twenty years of parenting in the bag. The best part of me walks around with her face and with better brains than I have. She's interesting and interested, an accomplishment she owns all the credit for. She has sass, a strong will and knows to say "I love you" even at the end of a difficult conversation with her mother - which I will take credit for. As well as that great head of hair. 

Me and my girl - 2015

Me and my girl - 2015

Happy 20th to my number 1 lady. 

xo- Thea

Starting Anew

If you've been following me or my work you'll notice all the newness all over everything associated with me. My personal life, work adventures with a new company and my children growing up off adventuring on their own. I am fortunate enough to start anew. 

I've been here before, at the beginning of something. It's exhilarating, scary and filled with surprises left and right. I would actually look back upon the majority of my life and describe how I've lived it with those exact words. I am grateful for that. 

I'm grateful for those who have followed me to here.