EDIT: Working in Illustrator, vector as final product.
Hello, I'm trying to turn the white stars pictured here transparent. Problem is, I'm a newbie and probably made this the wrong way. There are multiple shapes at work here: The circle, five white stars, four green stars, and a couple of secret green squares to hide the bits of the 2nd star poking out. My first problem was erasing everything outside of the circle; the best solution I found to that was to make a clipping mask, but then I couldn't do much with the resulting shape. Using the "minus front" isn't working for me because of the way the white stars are layered. I've searched and searched and can't seem to find a fix for this specific problem. Any suggestions would be appreciated!
EDIT 2: Thanks to Scott, I was able to achieve exactly what I wanted, and I've learned a bit more about Illustrator. :) The blue background is only for contrast. The finished product is only the green. Thanks again!!