I have returned! I hadn't planned a break, but a day into our week-long skiing holiday, my 8-month-old laptop decided it urgently required a new hard drive, and left me off-line for the remainder of the week. It's being replaced under warranty on Thursday. Fortunately I store most of my files, including all photos, elsewhere - though I'm really hoping that my emails from the last 6 months will be able to be recovered - and this serves as a good reminder to back up more frequently and more thoroughly!
In the last few days I've added some applique grasses for the giraffes, and today I sandwiched it and started quilting free-form feathers in the wide border.
These feathers work really nicely with the marbled print; fancy enough to be special, but not too elaborate or time-consuming to be wasted effort on fabric where they won't stand out without selective lighting.
While I'll obviously quilt closely around the tree, patches of leaves and giraffes, I'm not entirely decided on how to quilt the centre background. I plan to use matching threads and am considering the swirl/feather/paisley combination I've used before, or perhaps some more landscape-appropriate choices - the clouds I've done in a few skies recenty would work, but I don't want to fill the green area with a grassy pattern; I think that'd be overkill. I'll have time to mull over my decision while I finish the feathering and deal with the tree and giraffes.