I paper pieced! Thursday, while the littlest guy was napping, I found the magazine with the article in it, moved all of the yarn I'd piled on the sewing machine, and experimented a bit. And it worked!
I've checked out a dozen or so books on paper piecing from the library. I actually sat down one night a couple of years ago and tried to do it, with disastrous results. Since then, I've stumbled across instructions that made sense, but I've never had the right book checked out from the library on the same day as I've had time to play around with it.
The pattern for the tree, and the instructions that made sense, are in the Spring 1993 issue of Quick and Easy Quilting. The whole block is supposed to be a dozen little trees surrounding a house, but I'm not anywhere near crazy about the tree to make eleven more of them.
I've got another magazine with a pattern for a paper pieced schoolhouse block...and one with patterns for a paper pieced village...and somewhere, there's one with bird houses...
I'm going up to the sewing room to see what else I can find.