Ragged Edge Applique
The easiest way to apply a shaped motif to your cloth is the simple ragged cut out. Some fabrics will not be suitable in the beginning. Stay away from slippery or too loosely woven cloth until you build your patience and skill with the basting. The best method is to try your ideas on smaller sample bases first if you are just starting out. Again, it is a good way to learn and you end up building a little collection of what ifs in the process...
Simple ragged edge applique... I also call this Integrated applique.
Ragged edge applique can be enhanced with more fringe on the edge. I call this halo applique because of the soft ring of fluff that remains around the edge, especially after washing. You can use it on any shape cutout.
You might try this also with patterned shapes cut from existing prints. The fussy cutting sometimes leaves a ring of interesting color from the ground of the print and since the edges are not turned under, this color adds a nice surprise halo to the applique.
My extra secure method is a tiny back stitching all the way around with a single sewing thread and then another with 2 strands of embroidery floss. This can end up being decorative as well, depending what you chose for color. I cut carefully to contour the edge to the shape and then clip all the way around. I then scratch fray, running my fingernail back and forth over the clip to fray.
Ragged Mask Applique
Applique is an 'add to' process, adding components as design elements, scattered with intention to build your story. But with the mask method, you can add to your layout by hiding some of it or framing parts of it. I call this a mask because it is applied to a background as an element as opposed plain reverse applique where you cutaway from a layer that has already been made part of your base. In concept and in story, this is different in regards to intention. Try to think about the technique you choose and the steps involved as part of the action in your little play. Give it equal weight in your story choices. Your process can be integrated into the meaning of what you do. I will be talking more about this later.
You can further secure the edges of you ragged appliques with a tiny overcast stitch, almost invisible, but I usually wait to see how it performs first. As you handle the cloth, to embellish and quilt, you will begin to notice how it will wear. Noticing, feeling, make time for these things as you go.