For all of those fellow English majors out there, I didn't forget the noun in my title. The Terrible Awful IS the noun (has anyone else read "The Help?" :)
Take a look at that beauty of a staining job. Doesn't it look like I took a flame thrower and charred the entire thing?
This is what all of the hand rails on our railing looked like after I got through with them a few weeks ago. I've never stained anything before, and didn't realize that you're supposed to wipe off all of the excess stain that the wood doesn't take. Brilliant. I thought that this was normal and that the entire thing would darken after a couple of coats.
I WRECKED our railing.
After some tears (mine), some kind and encouraging words (my husband), Jimmy Johns (my favorite!), and a movie (HBO's John Adams (I think)), I was able to wistfully give up my dream of dark stained hand rails and white painted everything else, a la the photograph below:
The most frustrating aspect, besides the charred railing, was that I'd finally met my DIY match. Without vigorously re-sanding and chemically re-stripping the rails, or replacing them all together, the stained rails were a no go. Up until this point, I've prided myself with seeing something that I like and then being able to create that look on my own budget. A girl's gotta be humbled now and again, I suppose.
So on to plan B. The whole thing is getting whitewashed. And I'm about 75% done, but the finishline feels far, far away. I'd post some "during" pictures, but wouldn't it be more fun to just see the whole thing in its completed entirety?
The moral of the story? I thank God for an encouraging, understanding husband and Zinsser (stainblocking!) primer.