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Step up your care package game with Creative & Co.

Military spouse Mailani Cappaert hosts workshop

Step up your care package game at Creative & Co. Photo credit: Mailani Cappaert

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Many of us are veterans of multiple deployments, and our care package game may be getting a little stale. Join military spouse Mailani Cappaert, owner of Creative & Co., for a workshop on stepping up your care package game.

What makes the best care package? Find out Nov. 9 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Creative & Co. in University Place. The $30 per box cost covers all supplies, and, said Cappaert, "Our care package decorating day at the studio will have every decorating supply you need to make a perfect box."

Cappaert added that participants can come anytime during the event, and stay as long as desired. Military receive a 10 percent discount with military ID. Finally, multiple kids can work on a single box. RSVP at

"The best care package is a package that brings a smile to your loved one," continued Cappaert. "For my husband, I always include photographs of us together. I keep the decorations bright, funny, and as personal as possible. I load the box with dried nuts, candy, and his favorite noodles."

Cappaert said she has long been a lover of art, which flows into her creative workshops.

"My love for art started at 3 years old," she recalled. "I would draw and paint for hours. I was intrigued by color. I would sit in the car as a young child imagining what my surroundings would look like with a fresh coat of paint.

"My desire to manipulate colors and study art continued beyond elementary school", she continued. "I spent my first year of high school at the Tacoma School of the Arts, alongside many talented artists. Everyone in this school was striving to strengthen their artistic talents, whether it was dance, photography, painting, or drawing. The school had its own culture, with art as the common language."

During Cappaert's senior year of college, she moved to Europe for a year during her husband's Navy deployment.

"While living in Belgium, I marveled at the different art mediums and the importance Belgian culture placed on art," she said. "Art has been my passion for as long as I can remember, and my goal now is to inspire others to engage in any form of art that brings them happiness."

Cappaert experienced challenges with her business while dealing with her husband's deployment to Afghanistan.

"Creative & Co. was officially opened on Oct. 15, 2019. Our space is brand new!" she exclaimed. "I couldn't think of a better way to start than to have a workshop dedicated to military families. Opening a business is a challenge in itself, and with my husband deployed in Afghanistan, it was no easy endeavor."

To renovate the interior of the store, she said she relied on friends, family, and neighbors within the community for help.

"If my husband was here, I know he would have loved to hang shelves, build the tables, and be a part of this exciting journey," said Cappaert. "I look forward to him seeing the studio when he returns from deployment!"

As in any process, she said, there were good and bad days.

"I learned to repress negative thoughts and refocus on the positive moments of each day," Cappaert commented. "I wish he was here to see our very first customers enjoy their studio time. I learned the importance of stepping back and acknowledging accomplishments, even the small ones! Life has to keep going while our loved ones are on deployment. There is a community of people who are battling the same hardships. We need to prioritize connecting with one another."

If you'd like to up your care package game -- and want to support a military spouse in her new career -- attend the workshop.

Care Package Workshop, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 9, Creative & Co., 7406 27th St. W, Suite 200A, University Place, $30, 253.507.0964, RSVP at

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