Have a small budget?
Use imagination, and all of it's glorifying power!
The only tool used for this job was a nice sharp set of shears, and some imagination (represented by the baby my son drew for his little sister). The two imagineers are featured in the last shot.
The photo's for this instructable were taken by my seven year old son. Himself and his sister were large contributers in the end product. If you can, secure the use of a child's imagination, you cannot go wrong.
Step 1 - Find a suitable subject, in our case a big cedar. (My sons thumb tends to cover the lens when he takes shots, but at least he got one of the tree)
Step 2 - 'Feel' how the tree feels by analyzing the patch of sky under which he/she resides. (actually my son was taking shots all around of what the tree experiences, this was a great opportunity to teach him some things about a tree, this however was the best of them, most where taking while spinning around)
Step 3 - Once a decision has been reached, begin snipping. Stand back, make decisions, be firm, but be cautious of the way the branches grow as you work deeper. You can easily spoil an area by being over ambitious and clipping a main branch. Work slow, step back often. Make choices and try to stick with them.
Step 4 - Continue cutting. Step back often to see where you are going and make decisions, it is tedious, but pretty quick work. Ours took about a half an hour. Not a bad shot of me working. I should have a belt on, I don't ordinarily wear my shorts with the butt out look......backyard, playing.....no good excuse really. Nice photo work son, even got his sister a little.
Step 5 - Clean up little details, watch out for little fingers, listen to little voices. Realistically I couldn't change much or adapt much, so I made a game out of helping me find the little bits that stuck out too much. Walk around the tree, look from different angles, most important, keep the kids involved, they may be starting to get bored by now if you are not engaging them.
Step 6 - Assuming all little fingers are still intact, pose the 'designers' for a shot in front of their 'vision' realized. Here you can see that their father, while perhaps multi-talented, is no better of a photographer than a seven year old.
Get out there and play with your kids. Enjoy life and make them smile. I don't know if it is good advise, but teach them to look at the world from a different perspective and teach them that they can shape and change anything they want to. Because they can, and probably (mostly) should. The worst that could happen is that the tree dies, and that will just open another opportunity to learn.
(Actually the worst that could happen remains to be seen.......when my wife notices.......)
Step 7 - Leave it for a few days, let it settle. Come back in with your shears and do a few small touch ups and clean up any lines that have changed.
Share and enjoy!
The reason that I feel that this qualifies for the Chindogu Challenge is that while the intention is to cheer up the garden, I did not ask for my wife's permission. Anyone who is married will realize what a mistake this might be.
As of the writing of this, she still hasn't noticed. Her reaction remains to be scene. I am too scared to say anything, and think that I may just play dumb. Blame it on the local teenagers. We'll see.
Update: My wife is home and has even walked by it. She said nothing. I am not sure anymore who is playing who.