I sell vintage embroidery transfer patterns in my shop, of course, which I enjoy very much. Floral, animal, and food motifs were (and still are) very popular. Here is a hodge podge of samples:
And here are some hand embroidered pieces that I own. This is a table runner that I hand embroidered back in the 1970s, It is inspired by Scandinavian motifs:
I love modern embroiderers who follow their own inspiration. This is a fabulous and inspired piece of embroidered whimsy that I bought from another seller on Etsy. She even included her recipe for cornbread, which I have to admit is the best cornbread ever. Really.
This table runner is embroidered completely in the tiniest of cross-stitches, quite amazing. You can see the individual cross-stitches in the close-up view.
I hope this small sample will inspire you to explore the current exciting work being done in needle arts of hand embroidery and perhaps start a project of your own!