Hence, Scarlett's advice. I'll think about that tomorrow.
In the meantime, I decided to move on to several new motifs that should be less problematic.
First is a multicolored red and yellow butterfly, done in stem stitch:
Then on to a strange oversized stem with two leaves and two round shapes that I assume are flowers of some sort.
The stem has a tweedy look achieved by using two different colored threads - green and reddish brown -- done in an attached buttonhole / blanket stitch. To my mind it's a rather odd effect. Here's that odd stem with one of the two leaves stitched with a chain stitch outline filled with detached buttonhole.
Above it, you can see the chain stitch (actually reverse chain) outline for the second leaf.
And here is the completed second leaf:
In both of these leaves, I used the temporary tacking technique for the buttonhole return thread as shown in my blog post of January 8, 2013. Although the lines of stitching here are not as sharply angled as those in the other post, I am reasonably satisfied with the neatness of the buttonhole filling of these irregular shapes.