One reason I don't often do hand applique is because it's always a little off-putting to figure out what I need to set up my work area - good lighting is essential - and how to arrange all the tools, threads and pieces needed to do it. If you don't have a handy table beside or in front of you, it's easy to lose track of things.
After thoughtfully considering what I already have in my house that might work...inspiration! I found the perfect item for my handwork tools and supplies. It's a 13" X 20" white plastic serving tray with handle cut-outs.
I purchased it a few years ago at a Container Store in Texas, and we've been using it to carry food to the outdoor deck for summertime meals. But after giving it a go with my hand work, this will probably become a permanent part of my hand-applique paraphernalia. I like how it fits handily on my lap, and with its 1" deep sides, contains anything that might slide or roll away. I don't know how I previously managed without it.
I hope this is an idea that will help you organize your handwork too.