AppliqueSearch the Web for definitions of the word applique and you'll find lots of similar, but slightly different, meanings. For quilters, applique refers to sewing one or more shapes to a larger piece of fabric, called the background.
There are many ways to applique by hand and by machine, and you'll find there are lots of assembly variations within each of those two categories. Quilters usually discover a favorite applique technique as they experiment with different methods, but it's good to be proficient in as many variations as possible -- you never know when the skill might come in handy.
Needleturn AppliqueNeedleturn applique is a traditional technique. Shapes are traced onto fabric and cut out, leaving a seam allowance of about 3/16-1/4" around the traced line (that's a good starting point, you can adjust the width as you discover what works best for you in different situations).
Seam allowances are turned under as shapes are hand sewn to the background. Don't be intimidated by the thought of making "invisible" stitches in your applique. Have you hand sewn a binding to the back of a quilt? Yes? Then you've already practiced the art of making your stitches disappear.
There's no need to turn under motif edges before you sew (unless you want to, that step is your choice).
Note: I think the instructions are all you'll need to get started with needleturn applique, but check back for photos. I'm by myself for a few of days and need an extra couple of hands to take pics.