Quilt Update, A Brief History of (My) Sewing and Revisiting the Giant Tree Hopper

Here's how my quilt is coming along. I believe I last left you with a whole bunch of cut out squares. I additionally cut out measured rectangles of elephant fabric, and then sewed columns of fabric together to form 9 long strips (5 of which were long gray only rectangles, and the other 4 comprised of diff fabrics). I pinned strips together before sewing to make sure rectangles were parallel - I've just pinned on a gray strip above, and will sew along my fabric pencil line leaving about 1cm of seam.
The underside. In those strips comprised of different fabrics, note that I iron-opened the seams flat before sewing strips together. This prevents having to sew over more layers of fabric than necessary (2 layers thick at most, instead of 3), reducing lumpiness and sewing machine unhappiness. I am trying to be very neat in this project, as opposed to the Laissez-Faire attitude I usually have towards sewing.

I credit 2 sources for my sewing know-how. First my Mom (thanks Mom!) who has sewn stuff up for me from Japanese stuffed animal kits to a high school formal forest-green velvet dress. She had me machine sewing easy stuff from a wee age - following old school tissue paper patterns as well as improvising our own; and blind-stitch hand-hemming - which is incredibly useful for a short person like myself. Second, in Home Economics class, (British, Hong Kong) middle school - boys and girls learned to machine sew and dye stuff.

Since then, I've partaken in a plethora of sewing experiments of my own, such as clothes (I quickly learned that it is much easier and funner to shop for clothes), animal-themed costumes for museums/Halloween, and art projects such as the Tree Hopper (circa 2004) below, which you may have seen before.

Tree Hopper is approx 4' x 4' x 8', sewn on an ancient Singer with 2 stitches - straight and zigzag, and made of hand-dyed and airbrushed cotton canvas, industrial yellow vinyl, cotton cord for wing veins and internal plastic tubing for structure. Can I say, it was a pain in the butt to stuff this thing under the sewing machine arm.  It only worked out because I had the distraction of Harry Potter Audio Books to keep me going - that plus Michigan snow kept me indoors. Anyways, minus all the stuffing, which I donated to the UMichigan Art Dept for re-use, Tree Hopper now fits nicely in a large box in our pantry. It was way too much work to just toss, but what does one do with a deflated giant Tree Hopper carcass?