For this small batch, I folded the fabric in half and cut the half-stem and -half-leaf, like making Valentine's in 2nd grade, and just as relaxing. Sharp scissors are crucial. Here's the first piece; it's small, at about 11" x 13".
Emboldened, I played around with other shapes. I googled "interesting leaves" and made some quick sketches:
I created a background of raw-edge denim pieces, on top of a batting and backing fabric, then quilted it with a diagonal grid. Mostly ignoring my Google findings, I freehand cut imaginary leaves to fill the squares and rectangles.
The fantasy plant on the middle right (below) looks more like a squid than a leaf.
The piece I cut it away from became a reverse squid.
(Apostrophes happen when you've spend too much time trying to freemotion quilt feathers.) Next, a Batmanesque leaf.
The gold stitching on a jeans pocket shaped the next plant:
Below, those are supposed to be tiny plants in the upper right and left corners, but they somehow look more like doves. Also suitable for Valentine's Day.
Here's another, pretrim:
After clipping, I flipped it to its reverse side so it would show against a medium background:
I eventually tired of leaves, so I made a forest.
These could arguably also be called roundish leaves, or human heads, and/or mushrooms.
Once I liked the placement, I glued each plant in position with smears of Elmer's white school glue, a cheap but abundant resource is all the rage in the quilt world these days. (Discussed extensively two weeks ago.)
Once dry, I put a darning foot/aka freemotion quilting foot on my machine, set the machine to a straight stitch, then zoomed back and forth over the edges. all the way around, stitching down with what is effectively a multi-stitch zigzag, but which can be done from any angle. With matching thread, the stitching essentially vanished. But it also contributed to a bit of fraying around the edges. Can you see the light blue thread on the darker blue applique?
Neatness doesn't count if you use a color that blends. Since making this piece, I have switched over to doing denim applique with a regular zigzag, which causes less fraying than the multi-step variety.
Want more denim ideas? Click "denim" or "blue jeans" in the word cloud on the lower right!