Can I tell you how crazy gratifying it is to have strangers offer lovely thoughts on my design sponge project. One person even wrote that she'd like to see more work by "this artist." I love you, stranger. Forever.
Sharon wrote and asked what other options there are for the sewing impaired. You can leave the placemats plain with no stitching around the edges at all. It's a more minimal look, so if that's too plain you could try your hand at some decorative handstitches. Blanket stitching is one option that would give it a more folky vibe. I'll troll around for more options, in the meantime here's a little tutorial on blanket stitching. Enjoy and thanks for all the support!