i have finally found the answer to "leafgate 2012"...and it was so simple all along!
after studying what an actual poinsettia leaf looks like,
it became clear that all it needed was some simple diagonal satin stitches.
first i basketwove the entire base to give it some padding (and a strong foundation) then went over it in diagonal satin stitches. i will be covering the vein in something else, perhaps memory thread or something sparkly. i love how the gumnut thread adds subtle shading and dimension.
the center of the flower will have stacked beads, so the green will almost be obsolete.
so i'll be working on these leaves this week so i can move on to more exciting areas!