I thought of doing place mats as soon as i saw the blanket. i love the idea of the shopping bag as well.
maybe you could use scraps of the blanket to wrap around tin cans and use them to hold pens and other miscellaneous things that roam through the kitchen. i did this with some fabric and loved the way it turned out. mixing up the size of the cans and the direction of the stripes would add a cute touch
hope you think of something inventive!