Ah, another jury duty block. I chose this fabric because the background pattern in the fabric echoed the applique, but the pattern was so big it was hard to see. The fabric is Giant Octopi in orange from Heather Ross' Mendocino collection. I did the freezer paper on top method to applique the pieces down.
I recently bought some applique needles, and they make a huge difference. When I use bigger size needles I can definitely feel my fingers working more. My current favorite needles are the John James straw needles in size 11. I like my needles long, and I like to buy a lot of them because I tend to lose them.