For accurate placement on the background fabric, I cut my background fabric a half inch larger all the way around. For example, these blocks finish at 12 inches, so a 12 and a half inch square is cut. I cut mine at 13 and a half because the appliqué does draw it up a bit. So after it's done, I can cut it down to an accurate 12 and a half inch square.
I iron it in half, turn it, and iron another crease so I have a four squares ironed into my fabric. Then, I iron creases from corner to corner. This gives me a guide for placement of the appliqué pieces.
You may have noticed that all my leaves aren't perfectly symmetrical and they're all different fabrics. I like the organic look -- no two leaves are ever the same in real life either. And I'm relieved from having to make 12 exactly perfectly matching leaves.
I traced the design from the pattern onto baking parchment. I line it up with the ironed-in creases, then place my pieces with tweezers. I have these nifty little appliqué pins to hold them in place while I stitch. They're nice because they're so tiny, the thread doesn't catch them when I'm sewing.
I use a small needle and thread that matches the appliqué, not the background. I bury the knot under the appliqué, then do a blind stitch catching the fold of the appliqué.
To make the stems, I have this cool little pen. It has a "magic" potion in it (don't know what it is but I really hope it's not something that will make my quilt rot in 20 years).
I cut the bias strip -- the finished piece was a little larger than a quarter inch, so I cut them at 3/4 of an inch.
This pen is also useful for turning edges on labels, or anything else. The wet line turns really easily. And I can make bias strips any size -- I'm not limited to the sizes the strip-makers make.
Next: Those *&#@;$!!! little circles.