IKEA: The animated adventure

This is the very first episode of Holly’s Animated Life (April 2008).  I took my camera to Ikea, but it malfunctioned and then had soooo much to say I ended up drawing it out with markers.

Just a little update:  The road from hell is now a toll-way.

My closest IKEA is located at the intersection of the daisy-strewn tollway and the road from hell soon to be a tollway. I took the road from hell soon to be a tollway because I am stupid.

After much traffic on the road from hell soon to be a tollway, we finally arrived at the big blue happy box, IKEA.

The big blue happy box, IKEA opens at 10. BUT the big blue happy box, IKEA serves breakfast to hungry travelers starting at 9:30.

Unload the minivan…time for snacks!

The big blue happy box, IKEA serves a full breakfast and many snacks. The big blue happy box, IKEA serves all this and a bag of chips for mere peanuts.

Mmmmm. After a good breakfast we felt like shiny, happy people shopping at the big blue happy box, IKEA.

Let’s get a cart!

Oh, the carts at the big blue happy box, IKEA have special, magical shopping cart powers.

They may be pushed in ANY direction.



Super neat.

ANY direction except forward.



Super neat.

After about 10 feet…

Wow. *What the?*
Cool. *Who designed these?*
Super neat. *If any IKEA design team personnel steps in my way, I am going to push them over with my cart. They probably have encountered this before and will step directly in front of the cart rendering me helpless. They are so evil and crafty.*

Let’s tour the big blue happy box, IKEA while pushing our magical carts in a sideways direction.



Super neat.

The big blue happy box, IKEA designers have made the store into a giant maze.


Over the loud speaker IKEA plays big blue happy box music and announces that “the average IKEA customer spends 3 hours in the store” I think that the average IKEA customer is insane and not chasing a collective 4 children.

Let’s run sideways fast so we can get to the place I need to go…


I found things I need. I will just pop them into my magical sideways cart.

Here is what will fit into the magical sideways cart:

This is what I try to fit into the magical sideways cart:

circled in purple: things that I fit into my cart pushing really hard
crossed out in purple: things that kept falling out of my cart
circled in green: things I put in my friend’s cart
circled in orange: things I couldn’t fit in either cart and carried
crossed out in orange: things I couldn’t fit in either cart and carried and dropped repeatedly

*angel choir sings*


Look at this:

It is an amazing light fixture that looks like a clear bucket. You can fill the bucket up with ANYTHING (except water…they say specifically no water). You can fill the bucket up with things that coordinate with your room. See how nice it looks in my pretend room?

I just love the big blue happy box, IKEA.

Let’s go check out!

If I can get these magical sideways carts to line up in the narrow aisles…I can go home and stare at my new bucket light.

Push. Push. Push.


Now the challenge of unloading my 362 large boxes onto a check-out conveyor belt 1/6 the boxes’ size.

I pushed the magical sideways carts to the minivan, loaded the car and we were off.

Bye. Bye. Big blue happy box, IKEA.

We were out of there in less then 2 hours because we are WAY below the average IKEA customer…


  1. Baby Mamma (Tamra) says:

    Love the drawings. Colored, even!

  2. Happy Campers says:

    OK…the amount of time it took you to draw those pics is hillarious! Good artwork though. Very impressive!

    I want to see this bucket light. That sounds adorable…what will you fill it with??

  3. Kalynne Pudner says:

    The last time I was in an Ikea (1996, I believe), I too was with a friend and our collective kids. Seven of them. Five were mine. We went to Ikea because they had a big playroom filled with plastic balls where Ikea workers would watch them for up to three hours.

    We never bought anything (though I lusted after those loft bunks with red enamel tube frames); we took turns sneaking out of the Ikea to shop at the Carter’s outlet.

    Love the drawings! Even as I suspect your visual aids would have taken less total production time if you’d gone back for your memory card.

  4. I love your illustrations. I’m glad you had a happy shopping trip (add in sarcasm.)

  5. Jenn @ Juggling Life says:

    And because you did not take your husband, there was no bloodshed. Althought I would have liked to see that illustration!

  6. this was very amuzing for me, and i must say not only are you a talented shopper, which you are!! all that stuff in less than two hours and breakfast too!! wowzer!! but you are a very talented artist too!!! These are pics you should save FOREVER!!! 🙂
    thanks for sharing.
    xoxoxoxox jenn

  7. Drawings are much better than pics. I loved it. I hate Ikea I slipped four disks trying to unload a huge entertainment thingy. SOmthing about that place makes you think you can lift 200 pound objects and fit everything into a car or house.

  8. A Mom Two Boys says:

    Wow…and you even got Rhett to draw the pictures*! :0)

    So, when do we get to see a picture of your bucket light?

    *J/K Nice (art)work!

  9. That was the absolute best illustration I think I have ever seen. I am also a little jealous. I have never been to a big blue happy box named IKEA. 🙁
    I just googled it and the closest one is 152 miles away.

  10. laughingatchaos says:

    Whimper…we don’t have an IKEA. How can Denver NOT have an IKEA??? Sob…We’re actually thinking of taking a road trip to Utah this summer to get some things. I lead such an exciting life.

  11. I LOVE your drawings! I also LOVE IKEA! Unfortunately (or maybe it’s fortunately) the closest store if 6.5 hours from me. Boo hoo.

  12. Nothing like dangling bucket light to set a mood. GLad you got your Ikea fix, and by degrees, I feel like I kind of got mine too.

  13. The map is so accurate!

    I hate the soon to be tollway too.

  14. jennifer h says:

    I love the drawings! Especially the one with the legend of items in/out of your cart.

  15. You are super creative!

    IKEA is great… I especially love the carts and the seperate cart escalator….

  16. Oh my goodness, you are bringing back so many happy, happy Ikea shopping moments to my memory. We are kindred spirit shoppers, I see. I also have the distressing habit of carting the camera everywhere, only to discover – doh! – that the memory card sits safely in its slot in the computer at home. Yet, I never thought to illustrate….

  17. ROFL!!!! We were just at IKEA this weekend, and I was complaining about those carts the whole time! Ugh! A store full of so much breakable stuff, you’d think they would be easier to maneuver. LOL at your drawings. I LOVE the conveyor belt and purchase item ratios 🙂

    No meatballs?? 🙂

  18. Hilarious!

    How I miss IKEA, none in Raleigh…

  19. EatPlayLove says:

    Shall I assume your favorite game is pictionary? I love ikea, but we have to shell out for the shipping to COLO. Wah!

  20. Nap Warden says:

    Oh do I need to make the IKEA pilgrimage…Way to illustrate it. Maybe we should illustrate your blog;)

  21. And drawing, coloring and scanning the pics probably took less time than loading them, editing them and uploading them into blogger, anyway.


  22. anglophilefootballfanatic says:

    Wow you nailed it. The drawings really add to the ambiance of a trip to the Swedesh mecca. Including the intersection. I always love that the Welcome to Xtown with the flags & fountain is RIGHT in front of the Ikea. We went recently, too. And, only bought 1 thing.

  23. LOL!
    I still haven’t been to IKEA. I have lived within driving distance of an IKEA for 6 years, and have never been. They built an IKEA 10 miles from my house, and I still haven’t visited.

    I may just go there for breakfast.
    Those prices are amazing!

  24. mamachristina says:

    Your’re tagged, visit my blog…Christina

  25. exskindiver says:

    i was just in ikea a few days ago and i saw that very light you speak of!!!
    i did not purchase it though.
    but i did have the swedish meatballs.
    my husband steve says those arrows lead one deeper into he**.
    like you, i did not drag the man with me.

  26. jenny gardiner says:

    I really love your blog–I have to try to remember to remember to come visit her more often. I have found the best blogs by coming here and linking (and linking and linking and linking).
    Your Ikea visit is so damned funny. LOVED it.
    And I wonder if you should admit that you saw the movie What About Bob. That was filmed near my house, BTW.
    Hey–I wanted to thank you for your fabulous barnyard waffles. My kids now love me, since I fed them cow waffles last night. Thank goodness for Amazon because I didn’t even have to pay shipping and I got it in time for Easter (but then didn’t have to time to make them till last night b/c I’m such a slacker).

  27. MoscowMom says:

    I loved your drawings! I’m very impressed that you guys were in and out in two hours. We can spend a whole day there and at the huge shopping center attached to it… I’ve got pictures (no drawings!) from two weekends ago that haven’t made it into my blog yet about our last visit… I also took some pics yesterday that were shoe-focused after reading your ode to DSW… I’ll let you know when I upload. 🙂 I didn’t see that bucket light in our store; add pictures of it! Are you filling it with legos, tee hee?

  28. “They probably have encountered this before and will step directly in front of the cart rendering me helpless.”

    That line completely cracked me up! I am expecting pictures of the bucket light fixture in an upcoming post…no *demanding* pictures!

  29. Jerseygirl89 says:

    That was so much better than actual pictures would have been. Seriously.

  30. baby~amore' says:

    hilarious and the pictures were awesome.
    I am in awe of your talent and wit.
    I haven’t been to Ikea in awhile my husband refuses to go and dare not take the treacherous two whose arms sweep and grab everything in reach. They who would love to try climbing their way through the store too.

  31. Ok, this is better than the naked picture I drew of myself.

    Um…but how long did you spend on this? It is incredible the things we will endure for our art/blog.

  32. fullheartandhands mama says:

    Love this! I’ve never been to an IKEA, but after seeing your map, I bet I could get around one blindfolded. Right? I’ll just remember to walk sideways.

  33. Ha ha! You should leave the memory stick home more often–LOVED the illustrations! 🙂

  34. elizabeth embracing life says:

    I loved the picture show. Much more exciting than pictures. I mean really. Sounds like a productive shopping trip. I have only been in an IKEA once and never bought anything. What is wrong with me.

  35. loved this post – I think you MUST win a creativity award for this one! I miss Ikea, mainly for the Swedish Meatball platter and the fabrics!

  36. this is the funniest post EVER!!! You should sell those pics on Ebay. ;0)

    xo ~K

  37. Tootsie Farklepants says:

    It’s a good thing they have awesome stuff otherwise no sane person would ever go back.

    This post rocked!!

  38. Say What? says:

    An IKEA just opened near me last month. Haven’t been yet. But I checked out the website and they have some chairs I want for my dining room. So I will be making a pilgrimage.

    And thanks to you, I now know how to do it.

  39. standing still says:

    When IKEA came to the Twin Cities, I went to get in line at 6 a.m. because I was such a groupie I had to be there in the first few hundred allowed in the door.

    When they added “self service checkout” IKEA reached a level of nirvanna heretofore claimed only by Redbox and the $1 per night DVD rental.

  40. I am so jealous. My husband is such a drag, and he refuses to set foot in IKEA ever again. I so love it there. I love its plastic fantubulousness. *Sigh*

  41. Christine @ Serenity How? says:

    Excellent visual aids. Power Point eat your heart out!

    I can’t take my youngest daughter into IKEA without risking serious anxiety – hers, not mine. She worries the entire time that we won’t find our way out.

    Because I’m such a good mom I tell her not to worry. They have food and bathrooms. 🙂

  42. This was fantastic.

    I totally *heart* you now.

  43. I never saw the first animation, thanks for the repost! Oh, and the sideways carts totally bite.

  44. I am headed to that very same magical IKEA in 2 weeks (it was supposed to be today or tomorrow, but the ice and snow cancelled the trip). I am a little bit sad to hear the road to hell is soon to be a Tollway because my husband cusses every time he has to pay tolls on the drive south from Okieland to IKEA. Note to self: Buy more earplugs for the children before we leave.

  45. This is HILARIOUS! Glad you put it out there again for the newbies like me! 🙂

    And confession time….


    I’m not sure I even know exactly what kind of store it is.

    Unreal, I know.

  46. I feel so deprived! I’ve never been to an actual IKEA store, but I do love lusting after the stuff at their website!

  47. I love the IKEA store map. The confusion that is modern infrastructure these days tends to just inspire people sometimes, it hurts. lol.

    And I think they should call that pushcart of their the “crabcart”.

  48. So glad you brought this back! Threw it on my facebook page because it screams FUN, and I’m FUN, and more people need FUN in their lives!

    Go, FUN! 🙂

  49. So hilarious and true!

    I actually love the carts at IKEA. They are easy to spin around and around. Maybe that’s why their customers spend 3 hours in the store!

  50. You know I LOVE LOVE LOVE your stick drawings, this is what first brought me to you! I kept coming back because you are so fun and real. Plus, with kids close to the same age, I understand all your fun, frustration and GOOD TIMES posts.

  51. I loved this original, and all of them. How fun to think that what moved you to draw that one adventure has sparked all of these wonderful posts and created a Holly Brand. 🙂

  52. I am that person that spends three hours in IKEA…even when my children were small. Which is why it is a good thing (probably…not really) that the closest IKEA is over an hour away. *sob*

  53. That’s a lot of twists and turns back there. Well, look at the bright side, at least no one got hurt. Right?

  54. OMG, I totally love the map! Too funny. Great illustrations. 🙂

    I am so loving your blog. So glad I’ve found you..or you found me, whichever the case! It’s great.

    New reader in the house…yeah!

  55. I love the MAP!! It’s perfect. I barely did this with one kid recently, cannot imagine 4!! But then again the cart, and ALL of the logistics including getting it to my car with rambling 2 year old in tow, caused me to buy very small things for not too much $$ and dream about going back another day… ALONE. I’m actually happy it’s a full hour away. Haven’t been back since, still dreaming. =)

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