I finally finished the bag today - yay! I'm very, very tired now and expect to sleep for a few days. I'm quite proud of the bag itself, though, as I feel that I've done a really good job. It is an awesome bag, if I do say so myself. I hope the recipient likes it, too.
I have learned quite a bit from doing this bag. First, I need to actually start making the thing right away - I waited a few days before starting and I paid for that at the end. Second, I should have put the padding in later. I had the most problems with the parts of the bag that I sewed around the padding after it was put in. I could have saved myself a lot of trouble if I'd waited to put it in.
You can see pictures of the bag here: http://uwaterloo.facebook.com/album.php?aid=14221&l=38473&id=541371645