Another fun idea is to cast on 23 stitches. Knit every row (garter stitch) until it is as long as you want it. When it is time to bind off, drop every other stitch and bind off the rest of the stitches. The dropped stitches will unravel allllllllllll the way down and create a lacy effect!
Hang in there. I think the purl stitch is awkward for just about everyone. It will get easier, I promise. I once read that the purl row is called the "resting" row. I thought, REST!! It stresses me out!!! Now that I have been knitting for a year--and a knitting fool I am--I appreciate the "rest" the purl rows offer.