My mom just got her present in the mail today, so I can post it!
A lumbar-support pillow for my mom, complete with an embroidered doodle of our family. Here is a closeup:
I made both the pillowcase and the actual pillow. The pillowcase has a simple envelope back for taking off and cleaning, and is made from some brown linen pants, a piece of dark blue fabric left over from my quilt, and Freecycled blue shiny fabric (looks like satin, but clearly polyester) and off-white muslin. I did the embroidery with three-thread embroidery floss (basically, splitting the ones you buy in half) for greater clarity on the small details. There must be a better way to do it than what I did, but I basically sketched a doodle, scanned it into Photoshop, sized it appropriately, printed it out, pinned the printout to the fabric, and embroidered through both the muslin and the paper. Because of all the needle holes, the paper ends up perforated enough to just tear away. I thought of doing it on freezer paper and ironing that onto the muslin, but you can't print on freezer paper, so that would have involved several extra steps on the other end. Hmmm... How do you guys transfer digital images for embroidering?