I know not all of these finishes are stunning, but keep in mind that I came up with 31! (Actually I came up with 42 but I didn't have pieces that would work for some of them. Fret not, I'll share the rest with you in April!)
Framing in the hoop is a finish I've never used until now, but it is very popular with many of the people selling on etsy, like Satsuma Street and chez sucre chez*, and with a lot of newbies.
I matched this up with Bent Creek's Starry Wreath from the 1999 edition of the Just Cross Stitch Ornament Issue. I bought a cheap wooden hoop at JoAnn's. I sanded and painted it--I used an ochre color with a coat of antiquing medium because I was never going to get close to that weird greenish mustard yellow of the floss.You could buy a nicer hoop, and then you could skip the sanding and painting steps, but it cost a dollar. If you spend a buck on your hoop, you should sand it too. Sand it very well.
I looked back in the magazine and saw that Bent Creek finished this as a round pillow style ornament. It's so lumpy! And distinctly not round. That's just wasn't going to work for me. In fact, this is the happiest I've ever been with a round finish! I am seriously delighted with how this came out.
This finish may be too large for my tree (it's a 6" hoop) but I can display it on an easel or hang it on the wall. (Do you ever switch out your regular pictures and photos at Christmastime?)
Tutorials for finishing your stitching in a hoop:
Floss and Mischief
Hell to Breakfast gives some pointers on what not to do in her tutorial.
Check out Lova Revolutionary if you're a gluer not a sew-er.
Instead of tarting up the back with fabric, I used paper--like you would in regular framing. It's standard brown kraft paper, but the secret is to dampen it slightly before applying it. As it dries, it will shrink and give you a taught backing. In addition to not wasting fabric on the back of a piece, it's also much easier to remove if you decide you want a lumpy round pillow!
Thanks for your comments. I appreciate them all even when it takes me too long to reply to you. It's report season at work, and I am so busy. And you can imagine that finishing something every day eats into my down time...
*On a break lately, but the first one I thought of.