I love finding second hand aprons and tablecloths embroidered in cross-stitch on gingham. I didn't realise their origins date back as far as the depression. In those tough times, ladies wanted something pretty and lacy, so embellished plain check fabric with easy cross-stitched designs. By using the coloured squares judiciously, a lovely result occurs with minimal effort.
Here's the beginning of my efforts using a great tutorial from Riley Blake Designs.