If you ever get in a rut with how to use your embroidery, I highly recommend looking at the fashion world for inspiration. I love seeing how designers use machine embroidery in new and more interesting ways.
I recently came across a Mark Nason and his grungy tone-on-tone use of embroidery on boots and leather. Check it.
It’s also a perfect example of how to use machine embroidery for manly styles, as I’d say most guys would rock this style of embroidery on things. It’s a gorgeous combination of tone on tone that almost makes it akin to embossing, or a subtle use of dip and brushed dyes to give the colors on the embroidery a faded, blended look. It’s all just too delicious.
The price tag may not be, unless someone really loves you for Christmas (his boots and bags usually start around $300) but with a creative mind and your trusty embroidery machine, there’s no reason you can’t use this as a fantastic place to jump start your crafting.