In the interest of full disclosure: I swiped this idea from Leslie.
We never seem to have enough clean place mats so I bought a bunch of Martha Stewart dish towels and cut them in half
vertically (fold top to bottom, press and cut on pressing line). A quick hem to the cut side and for $9.99, I had 14 place mats instead of 7 dishtowels. Well, make that 28 place mats - I made two sets. Less laundry for me.
Yes, my laptop sits on the kitchen table for now. I have grand plans to make myself a little desk out of an old door up by our bedroom, but for now, this is command central most of the time. The kitchen is the hub of the house anyhow. Of course, I do move it when we sit down to eat.
Another great use for these dishtowels: skirts like the ones I made the girls last year. Throw on some embroidery or applique and they would be super sweet. If you make them, just be sure that both ends of your towel have trim instead of just one. Of course, you could always use one without trim and add some yourself.