I did not stain the sticks, but painted them with a scratch-repair pencil from Poundland. It was much easier. I used the extra strong all-purpose glue stick. When I have covered the whole area, I sanded it very hard, to make the surface smooth. It also made the colour less even, therefore more natural. After that, I stained it with light oak stain, just one coat, to take away the whiteness of the unpainted sticks. (See, I didn't notice it six years ago when I first made this floor, but I do now). Finally, I varnished it with at least three coats. It now starts looking the way I want.
The entrance is far from finished, but you can see how the floor fits into the whole design.