Finally here is my finished block. A bit late, but I got it done. This was done just with HSTs and squares. I increased the size of the block by 50%, but when I did the calculation on the individual squares or HSTs I forgot to exclude the 1/4" seam allowances so in the end my block ended up being 14 1/2" instead of the 12 1/2" that I was aiming for.
The most painful part of doing it this way was trimming all those HSTs, it took a long time. Overall I'm pleased with the outcome but I would never make another one of these.
One thing I would like to say is thank you to everyone here for their encouragement and helpful suggestions on various topics. I can say that my piecing has improved greatly and my cutting of the various pieces has become pretty much spot on. I certainly noticed it this weekend when I was busy making the wonky star blocks for the Bushfire Quilt project just how smoothly my blocks came together. Also tonight when I was piecing this block it came together without much frustration.
Edited to add: By using only HSTs and squares this block is 101 pieces - yes that is nuts, but the whole block was nuts to begin with so I figured I had nothing to lose.