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As the number of apps continues to increase, developers are taking the technology beyond fun and games. Today, users can find apps that help organize, simplify and enrich your home’s design.


Here's a list of some free home design apps:


KraftMyStyle: With this app, you can capture images and create photo collages of items that inspire you, like colors, unique spaces, fabrics and art. Style boards can be shared with family, friends and in the online gallery. When you're working with a designer, this app is a great way to share ideas and inspiration for your home's design. Available for Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.


iHandy Level: Say goodbye to crooked frames. This app turns your iPhone or iPod Touch into a level so you can be sure that everything is even and in a straight line.


ColorSmart: If you're planning on refreshing your home's walls, this app from Behr paint is a must-have. The app makes it easy to try out different styles and paint colors in your rooms without picking up a roller. Once you've found your favorite colors, share them on Facebook and Twitter. Available for Android, iPhone and iPad.


Paint 'N' Wash: With this app, you can paint works of art with your fingers, then wash it away with the Delta faucet. Great for getting those creative juices flowing. Available for BlackBerry, iPhone and iPad.


-- Family Features


Decorating Tip: Bay window hardware


With a bay window configuration, it can be difficult to find a rod that works well. Designer Wimberley Earp suggests using hinged elbows that swivel and allow for a continuous rod application. For window seats, use ceiling-mount brackets.


-- Scripps Howard News Service


Home-Selling Tip:


Potential home buyers will be opening every door and every cabinet in your house, so make sure everything looks clean and organized. Kitchen cabinets should be orderly and not full to the brim, which makes space look smaller. Closets are another place to keep organized with closet systems, drawers and matching hangers. If it is in your budget, ditch the wire shelving, which can look cheap and outdated.


-- FrontDoor.com


Did You Know …


Existing-home sales increased 4 percent in November from October and are 12.2 percent above 2010 numbers. – Realtor.og


Going Green: Disposing food scraps curbside


Set to close its landfill by 2013, Tacoma, Wash., is in a search for solutions to reduce waste. So in order to keep food scraps out of its landfill, the city will implement a program by April that allows residents to dispose of food scraps and other organic waste curbside in yard waste bins. City officials will also distribute gallon-size pails to collect daily kitchen scraps. The move comes after a six-month pilot program.


-- Earth911.com


Garden Guide: Perennial plant of the year


The members of the Perennial Plant Association have voted, and the perennial plant of the year for 2012 is Brunnera macrophylla "Jack Frost." It offers silvery heart-shaped leaves. Its common name is "Heartleaf Brunnera" and it is sometimes called "False-Forget-Me-Not" due to the dainty azure blue flowers that resemble true Forget-Me-Nots. The blue flowers have a yellow eye and bloom for several weeks in the spring.


-- University of Illinois Extension


New Product: No more ‘pump and run’


A gas station in Saginaw, Mich., is testing a new pump technology called Post-Pay, with intentions of eliminating the need to pre-pay if you have cash, according to the Consumer Reports’ Electronics Blog. Drivers swipe their driver’s license in the machine to release the pump and fuel their cars. Then they can pay the cashier. If someone decides to “pump and run,” their information is automatically sent to the police station.


GateHouse News Service