How a Cardboard Box, a Tripod, and a Digital Camera Made a Huge Improvement in My life

The pictures on my Etsy site were what my son would probably characterize as “meh”. I was aware of this problem for a long time, but didn’t think that I had enough photography know how to make a difference. After reading an Etsy Success newsletter about improving shop photos, I scoured the internet for ideas on light boxes, and white lighting and a bunch of other stuff that I have since forgotten. I learned that:

  1. a white shower curtain placed over  a window  with sunlight streaming through would create nice photos
  2. cropping an image greatly improves the look
  3. a (inexpensive) digital camera and a $15  tripod are a necessity – good pictures require a steady hand and u never realize how shaky yours is until you compare the two versions of your pictures
  4. what a difference a cardboard box can make (thanks to my DH the Woodchuck)

I have had some trouble with lighting still and believe I need better /different bulbs. Mostly I just use my room lighting (I have a lot of overhead lights in my studio).

Now for some examples.

Gray Fedora Before

This fedora is not dark gray

Gray Fedora after

Wow, what a difference

Multicolor cap

Too light, too bright,not focused and way too much going on in the background

multicolor cap after

Now you can see the colors in the cap, the design etc

colorful hat before

I used to think this was a great picture

colorful hat and scarf after

Now I know better

To have good pictures, one must take good pictures- lots and lots of them. I take 10 to 20 pictures of each item even though I only need 5 or 6 for my Etsy and Artfire shop. I use to crop and correct my photos- I don’t have an account or premium membership but I’m thinking about it since I’m on there just about every other night.
I learned how to  make the lightbox :

From Strobist and also Darren Rowse although I didn’t know he was a photographer did u? This is one I have not done but may do a large version of because I want to photograph larger items. I also watched quite a few YouTube videos – it;’s true almost everything you want to know about anything is on the interwebz already:)

Now to fix the pictures on my Artfire site….


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Now Let Me Make This Clear: FREE SHIPPING all week in my ETSY Shop

For some odd reason, folks just love the idea of free shipping – even more than  a 10, 20 or 30% discount!
But what I need to make clear is that when I say FREE SHIPPING, I don’t mean that I will wrap your package in brown paper and ship it media mail on a slow boat through China {True story, I ordered a book from someone in California and it took a month to arrive! I’m assuming that it went through China}.

Priority Mail


Free or not all of my items ship Priority Mail, sure it costs more , but it’s fast, I can track your package easily, and gosh darn it – you are worth it.
So head on over to and get in on this FREE SHIPPING promo before Saturday.

Once your order has gone through look for an email from me offering you 35% off all items in the store (if you do it fast you also get the free shipping on top of your deep discount).
What are you waiting for? Christmas?

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Life Comes At You Fast

“It’s A Boy!” and “It’s A Girl!” gift sets

Now that I am making baby items , I was really happy when my nephew told me that I was going to be a great aunt.  Ever the businesswoman, I was excited at the prospect of a baby of my own to try out all of my items at the various stages of his life. Saturday evening I got a call that sent me rushing to the emergency room at Grady hospital in downtown Atlanta – there had been a very bad accident and my sister and my nephew’s 5 months pregnant girlfriend had bee injured. That night, while we sat awaiting word on their condition (they didn’t let us see either of them for almost 5 hours and that doctor that comes out to talk the family on TV shows? Well, that didn’t happen) my nephew told me that he never understood what “Life comes at you fast” meant…until that moment when his whole life just changed.

My husband and I discovered this about 5 or 6 years ago when I was laid off , his band was dropped from the label, and our son was ready for high school but we were not.  We moved to a nicer (read “more expensive”) locale so that my son could go to a good school (read “no gangs”) with hope in our hearts that we could make it all work. Well he graduates this year and we haven’t had to go on the dole, so maybe it’s all going to work out after all.

But who knew that life would be this hard? Here we are two educated and multi-talented people who never in a million years imagined that lows could be quite so low for quite so long. Thank God for giving us both a sense of humor and three great kids.

So a couple of weeks ago I challenged my husband to help me turn my passion for crochet into our retirement income. He rose to the challenge and came up with the  “It’s A Boy!” and “It’s A Girl!” baby shower gift sets for me to sell locally and on Etsy. It’s a start.

The young female  doctor told my nephew’s girlfriend that she’s young and can have more babies. I’m not consoled and I doubt that she is either. Life comes at you fast – and that’s the truth.

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It’s Good to be a Virgo & I’ll Tell You Why…

Today is my not so little guy’s birthday  and mine is not very far off. This is a milestone year for both of us and we sure are glad to have made it this far without incident (well mostly that he’s made it this far without incideUwe back when he was still Jalennt and that I’ve made it this far at all).

I’ve always told his older brothers that he is so much younger because I was waiting for them to be old enough to be my babysitters; the reality is that somewhere in my early thirties I was betrayed by my biological clock which began ticking again after laying dormant for over a decade! In retrospect i must have been plumb crazy to want to repeat the 12 hours of labor I had with my first born or the 3 hours of non-stop-please-let-me-out-of-this-car pain that I had with my second . But there I was,  sniffling when the Pampers commercial came on TV and staring at other people’s babies with longing.

Although his Daddy and I were very happy to discover that I had become accidentally-on-purpose preggers , I discovered around month 7 that the memories of my previous two births had come  flooding back. I was filled with fear and trepidation at the prospect of my own labor day (which coincidentally was scheduled for around Labor Day). But it all worked out, he was breech and my OB decided to do a C-Section. This was good  for the kiddo who [his Daddy claims] was born with a perfectly shaped head, and great for me because I got to pick his birthday – of course I made sure that I pushed it out just far enough that he’d be Virgo like his Mama:)

Now that The Boy (that’s what his Daddy calls him) is almost fully grown  and I’m …older than I was last year, I’d like to involve my readers and social media friends and family in the celebration (yeah this was all about you, not about us).   For the next week (August 30th to September 7th), purchase any item in my shop and I will refund 33% of the purchase price (excluding shipping of course). This includes any items that I add to the shop over the next week, but does not include custom items (sorry). To receive the discount please convo me with the words “Happy Birthday to you and Uwe” or just do a message to seller when you place your order.

As for the title of this post – my husband will be happy to tell you that when I am not busy interrupting him or cutting him off in mid-sentence, I have the bad habit of saying  “blah blah blah and I’ll tell you why…” Now hurry on over to Etsy and help us celebrate our birthdays! September 7th will be here before you know it

Mother’s Day Giveaway!

Red Sparkle Evening Clutch and Drawstring  bagMother’s Day is just around the corner and I wanted to do something nice for all of my readers.  You probably all know that  crochet a little bit and that  I also have an Etsy shop.  Lately I have been really into bags- clutches, backpacks, drawstring bags, hobo bags – you name it.

Well what woman doesn’t like a cute bag? So to save one lucky reader the trouble of purchasing too many Mother’s Day gifts, I have decided to give away one or more bags within the next two weeks. Here’s all that you have to do:

1. Visit my Etsy site and use the Share link on the right to Tweet about one of my items – make sure that you include #Niseylee in tweet so that I can search for it

2. If you don’t have a Twitter account, become a fan of my Crochet From The Heart page on Facebook, share one of my pics or items  and leave a comment on this post to let me know that you did.

3. Read and comment on at least one of my blog posts

4. Add a link to this post on your blog (if u have a blog that is)

5. On Saturday April 24th I will choose  someone to send a bag to, I will rinse and repeat on May 1 st, so be sure to participate both weeks!

I haven’t decided which bags to give away yet, but here are pictures of likely candidates (the two red sparkly bags on the top left are included). If you have trouble with any of the tasks please let me know!


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March Madness Team Gear now available!

Are you a college hoops fan? Well I have been working on some cool stuff to help you support your team at a price that won’t eat into the Ramen noodles budget of most college students. Here is a sampling. Visit my site to order or leave me a comment.


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