After my failed attempt to use Italian tubular mesh ribbon for the stems, I've reverted to regular stitching for them. What a relief!
I'm using three shades of Madeira stranded cotton, 2208, 2211 and 2213:
I outlined the edge of the stems with the darkest of the three, 2213, in split stitch rather than stem stitch as I just like it better:
As the apples are highlighted as though with light coming from the right, the highlighting on the stems needs to work in the same way, so I drew on lines where the highlights should go (no photo, sorry). Using two strands of the lightest shade of the three, 2208, I then added a couple of rows of split stitch in the 'highlight' areas:
For some reason it looks far lighter on the piece than it does in the packet!
To start to blend the shading in, I next went round the first set of stitches with another row, this time with one strand of 2208 and one of the middle shade, 2211:
More shading next time.