Recently I took a piece of paper with an antique flower pattern. I picked out the pieces I wanted to use. I then took my paper piercer and pierced the outline and detail lines within the picture. It wasn't difficult and there was no need for perfect measuring. I simply placed my holes within a reasonable distance from each other in a way that my holes would not tear as I stitched. I then began using a straight stitch around the flower from the inside out. When I got to the end I then stitched around the pattern backwards with a straight stitch to fill in the gaps. This technique will work with any object you wish to stitch. I then cut out my piece and glued it where I wanted it. You can even save the outside outline and do a baseball stitch around it to created a lovely stitched border. Add more detail by using different colors for different areas. When starting your stitch to keep it flat use a glue stick to lay your floss down instead of a knot.
You don't even need a patterned paper. Go freehand and create a pattern out of anything. Once you have pierced the paper, as you see fit, then pick your stitch.
If you use buttons and other embellishments that are similar, instead of gluing them on, get out your piercer and stitch them on. It saves on glue and you get a much more detailed look.
Once you get handy at stitching you can apply it just about anywhere. There are no rules to stitching and it is great for anything from details to the main art piece.
Also to save money you can use cross stitch floss and pick the amount of strands you wish to use. Instead of buying floss out of the scrap book aisles look in the sewing and cross stitch aisles. Needles will be cheaper there too.