I've been working very hard recently, this quilt has to be finished by end of October (and by finished I mean quilted as well)
It has taken me at least twelve hours to do the applique on this part of the top border, not including the preparation of the pieces. When I started this quilt I tried out a few different applique techniques, I found that I didn't like traditional needleturn and preferred to use the front basting method (as described here) although I hand baste the fabric in place as I find it easier to unpick hand stitching than machine stitching.
Of late though, I have been using turned edge, whole unit hand applique over a semi-soluble fusible (Floriani Stitch and Wash) and am finding this much kinder on my hands. Regardless of which method I use there is still a lot of preparation involved and I find it easier to spend a day or so choosing fabrics and getting the pieces ready and then a couple of days on the applique, and repeat, sometimes it feels like Groundhog Day :)