Deborah, A tree covered in SU ornaments -- what a cool idea! Are you starting with a table top size tree or going right for the full-sized tree?
If you like CAS cards, maybe you don't need to do a lot with the printed papers. You aren't alone in finding that CAS cards can be just as challenging to make as the layer-upon-layer cards. I am still trying to get where it isn't so challenging for me. Then again, even when I try to CASE cards, they can be rather challenging.
One of the things that helps me is to look at those CAS cards others make that I really like and try to figure out what it is about them that I like. It may be a particular layout, or a shape or a type of font.
Good luck with all your goals!