This picture is a stitching from Fujico collection, charted from watercolor painting and one of the very few Japanese original cross-stitch kits.
It is stiched over 18-count Aida (I think), and uses over 100 colors!!
Back to the title, my cross stitching began when I was in Middle school, where I stitched samplers and Country style kits picked up at a hardware store.
I stopped stitching for some years after returning to Japan, and resumed after graduating from college. I visited some old friends during my graduation trip and my friend kindly took me to a LNS where I stocked up on charts, floss and linen.
Several years ago, my stitching fever came up again and realized that in Japan, cross stitch was not popular at all in Japan; somehow I found a Japanere internet shop which sold kits, and stitched on some Marjolen Bastin kits (apparenty, very popular in Japan) and stitched flowers, fruits and little animals to my heart's content. I then ventured a little into an American internet shop where they offered Mirabilia charts and kitted them for sale.
A few months ago it occurred to me to venture out and look at some cross-stitching blogs.
First, I looked at Japanese cross-stitcher blogs, where Mirabilias, Danish flower thread embroidery, Quaker designs, Prairie Schooler, CHS, etc. were popular.
Then I wandered into Blogland (English blogs) where I found many, many wonderful cross stitching blogs and my! Gazillion choices in designs, linens, fibers, etc. to choose from and so many overseas Internet shops who were more than willing to help me!
Believe it or not, until recently, I never used anything but DMC threads (even these are hard to come by here). Now I am experimenting with all kinds of designs and materials.