Have one side of the border pinned and ready to sew.
I used Heather's (http://happyappliquer.blogspot.com ) method of strip piecing and then cut them out leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance. I used Elmer's glue to glue all the seams down and then pinned before sewing. Makes it much easier and more accurate.
Many ways to applique and here is a quick and easy one. Instead of burning fingers on the iron just wrap the fabric and template in tinfoil. I use a little starch on the edges before wrapping the foil to make the shape. Then iron. The yellow center is a french knot using size 8 embroidery thread.
While out walking I found this baby Rattler on the side of road. A car had runed over the middle and I was sure it was dead before picking it up.