I am looking for projects in which I can practice and hone newly learned skills in the areas of HTML CSS, JAVA Script and PHP mysql. Where does one look for this kind of thing or do you just make up your own? I guess it more of a search for Ideas.
Once I became moderately comfortable with PHP/MySQL, I started working on a lightweight CMS to tie it all together. Nothing major, more like a blogging platform. Small scale, but a focus on doing it correctly and efficiently.
I would recommend getting involved in an open source project or perhaps starting up a free or commercial service. I always find that working on simple projects or reinventing the wheel doesn't really test your skills (or it doesn't result in something useful). My advice would be to find something that perhaps doesn't exist that might be useful to consumers, and make it a personal project to learn how to build the real-world application. From there you will gain real-world skills (and it'll really test your abilities), have a fantastic piece for your portfolio and it will be useful (perhaps not only to you but other people too). Everyone's a winner!