I ended up making this coaster for a friend out of some Cotton and Steel charm squares, an offcut of batting and some scraps of bias binding. On the software it was very simple - decide on one of the set alphabets in the software (there are about 30), get the size right and select "Satin Outline". I had to try a few experiments to get the outline thick enough and I still think it could have gone a lot thicker but it looks ok.
The second thing I tried was a simple phrase. This is for part of my Pusheen Swap parcel and the recipient is a fan of all sorts of things I know nothing about. A bit of research told me she would like this.
This one came out OK but it taught me that variegated thread doesn't really work on this kind of design. Having said that, I am still really happy with the way this basic design came out and the suggestions it offers for future development.
There is one set of designs that I have been eyeing up - chalkboard type ones by Anita Goodman that I first saw on Instagram which you can see on this blog. I'm not sure where I can buy them from though so if anyone knows share that with me!