For your camera problem:
-Set it to macro mode (if it has one) which should be a little flower. This will reduce its focal length to about 12cm.... allowing for much more close up pictures
-Hold the button only halfway down, aiming the redicule at the object. This will get the camera to focus manually. Wait for the image to focus, then press all the way down.
-Set the camera to a timer, say 5 seconds, and put it on a stand (or like me, on a pile of books) and aim it at the object. Then press the shoot button, and step away from the camera. (No human, NO HUMAN, can hold a camera steady. If you shake even the slightest bit, it will blur the image)
-A plain white or plain black background. always helps.
-Good, white, lighting. Get an energy saver flouresent lightglobe, they give off the best light.
These are the steps I take when taking photos. You should end up with somthing like this, although this image is slightly blurred due to poor lighting angle and JPEGing so that it was no longer 5mb! lol.