I think it's funny that we're doing strawberry mead when they aren't in season. :-) I just started a half gallon test batch on Friday and just racked to secondary (it seems soon, but it went from 1.110 to 1.014 in less than five days! And I wanted to do my best to keep some residual sugars). The way it started was with some leftover strawberry juice from a cake my mother made for my wife's b-day. It was about a quart, just perfect for a half gal batch. I used cote de blanc yeast and fermented it at 64 degrees (until today as you'll find in another thread :-) ) It's tasting pretty good and I want to rack onto some whole strawberries in the next week or so.
Adding vanilla is a great idea! I have some muslin tea bags I found on amazon for very cheap.
What I plan to do after hearing from other experienced meadmakers, is to cut up the vanilla beans into 1 in. pieces, take out the insides, placed them into the muslin bag and let it sit in the secondary until it tastes where I like it (same with any metheglin). I found some beans below for an excellent price as well.
And here http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B003TI...sr=8-4&pi=SL75
I'm looking forward to hearing the results, and I'll share mine too!