Embellishing on the surface of stitched needlepoint has been an interesting exercise and experiment for me for the last few years, but mine have been the art crazy quilt format - in which I was also able to try out different stitches and threads that were new to me, as well as practicing such techniques as silk ribbon embroidery and other embroidery stitches.
I was delighted to see Anne Stradal (The Cape Stitcher) straying from her norm lately, and doing adaptations of Sailor's Valentines. I was unfamiliar with these, so also enjoyed her history behind them, as well as imaginative use of threads and sea shells.
Be sure to go watch this develop, as she is now starting the third one, which looks like a wonderful thing in the making! The photo is just showing the beginning of #3, so be sure to see it progress.
Next, I found this delightful tutorial by way of Sharon B's PINTANGLE - the painted button tutorial by "Older Rose," in which she shows how to prepare and paint buttons.